Prosecution asks to use 3-decade-old report to sentence Sivak

Defense attorneys say the document is outdated and full of hearsay.

jsowell@idahostatesman.comJuly 9, 2013 

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Lacey Sivak

Lacey Sivak, who sat on Idaho's death row for 30 years before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals threw out his death sentence in 2011, will return Wednesday to Fourth District Court.

Prosecutors already decided they would forgo the death sentence this time and instead would seek a life sentence.

Now, they are asking Judge Ron Wilper to allow use of the 32-year-old presentencing report with the state's doctors.

Defense attorneys counter that current sentencing laws no longer allow a presentence investigation report in a death penalty case.

"The information in the PSI and its attached reports are not only extremely outdated and unreliable, it is full of hearsay," defense attorneys Robert Chastain and Deborah Kristal wrote in a court document.

The 1981 report contains a description of the murder of gas station attendant Dixie Wilson, Sivak's educational background and social and criminal history.

It also contains a statement from co-defendant Randall Bainbridge, convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.

"The report would therefore be of assistance to this court in determining the appropriate sentence," wrote Roger Bourne, the Ada County deputy prosecutor handling the case.

Wilson, 30, was shot to death and stabbed on April 6, 1981, while working at a Baird Oil gas station in Garden City.

The murderers also stole $385 from the station's cash drawer and safe.

Sivak and Bainbridge admitted they were present when Wilson was killed but blamed each other for the murder.

The Ninth Circuit panel ruled that prosecutors violated Sivak's due process rights by basing their case on the word of Bainbridge and two jailhouse informants who weren't reliable.

The sentencing trial is scheduled for Aug. 26 and is expected to last several days. Wilper will hear the case without a jury.

John Sowell: 377-6423, Twitter: @IDS_Sowell

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