Attorney General Masto Announces Habeas Corpus Petition Denied for Death Row Inmate

August 13, 2014

Inmate Sexually Assaulted a Woman and Murdered Her Husband

    Las Vegas, NV – Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto announced on Tuesday the United States District Court for the District of Nevada denied a petition for a writ of habeas corpus submitted by William Witter, 51, who is on death row for murdering a man and sexually assaulting that man’s wife.

      “The district court’s ruling is an important step in ensuring that justice is served in this case and the culmination of years of effort on behalf of my Office and the Office of the Clark County District Attorney,” said Masto. “The families of the victims of Witter’s atrocious crimes deserve to see justice in a timely manner, and my Office will continue to fight for them through any appeal.”

        Witter was convicted by a jury in 1995 of first-degree murder with the use of a deadly weapon, attempted murder with the use of a deadly weapon, attempted sexual assault with use of a deadly weapon, and burglary. The convictions stem from a 1993 criminal occurrence in which Witter sexually assaulted a woman in an underground Las Vegas parking lot and later stabbed her husband to death when he arrived during the assault and tried to intervene. The jury found that Witter had previously been convicted of a violent felony and imposed the sentence of death for the murder. After unsuccessfully challenging his convictions in state court, Witter filed a federal petition for writ of habeas corpus raising multiple claims of trial error and ineffective assistance of counsel.

          On August 12, United States District Court Judge Robert C. Jones denied Witter’s federal petition in its entirety.

            Witter is on death row at Ely State Prison. The case has been prosecuted since June 2011 by Jared M. Frost, Deputy Attorney General.

              WITTER, WILLIAM L.
              2014-08-13 Witter William

                (Photo courtesy of Nevada Department of Corrections)


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