Wash. Supreme Court Orders New Trial For Darold Stenson

May 10, 2012

The high court says that Darold Stenson’s rights were violated. In their ruling the justices say the state wrongfully suppressed photographs that raised questions about mishandling of evidence as well as an FBI file.

Sheryl Gordon McCloud is Stenson’s attorney.
“The photograph, which we didn’t discover until a few years ago shows the lead detective on the case with his bare ungloved hands holding those pants with those pockets turned out shortly before the gunshot residue test was taken. A picture is worth a thousand words cops carry gun, guns leave gunshot residue, he’s holding the pants with his ungloved hands."

McCloud says the photo shows the evidence could have been tainted. The high court agreed. Justice Pro Tem Gerry Alexander wrote that had the photographs been properly disclosed Stenson's attorney’s would have been able to demonstrate to the jury that the evidence was seriously mishandled and compromised by law enforcement.

Stenson was sentenced to death in 1994. He was convicted in the shooting deaths of wife Denise Stenson and business partner Frank Horner at his exotic bird farm in Clallam County. The case now heads back to Clallam County.

County Prosecutor Deborah Kelly says she’s deeply disappointed by the high court’s ruling but plans to retry the case. It’s unclear if Kelly will pursue the death penalty again. Meantime, Stenson will remain in prison until his new trial.

Copyright 2012 KUOW