August 10, 2021
City, NV – Today,
Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford is pleased to announce that the Nevada
Board of Examiners approved the award of compensation for Frank Lapena,
following the Eighth Judicial District Court’s grant of a Certificate of
Innocence and court approval for a total award of $1,980,900.00 from the State
of Nevada as compensation for the 20 years Lapena spent in prison after his
wrongful conviction. Eighth Judicial District Court Judge Gloria Sturman
entered stipulated orders on June 30, 2021, which AG Ford fully supported.
Mr. Lapena's innocence was fully acknowledged by the State, and he is free to
enter into a new chapter in his life,” said AG Ford. "No amount of
money can ever replace our freedom, but with this decision, Mr. Lapena will receive
some redress for the years he has lost. As attorney general, it is my job to
pursue justice, and I would like to thank the members of my office who worked vigorously
on this case.
1974, Lapena was arrested for the murder and robbery of Hilda Krause, wife of
casino magnate Marvin Krause. Lapena and his former girlfriend were named as the
masterminds by the actual murderer, Gerald Weakland. Weakland then changed his
testimony at Lapena’s first trial and testified that Lapena was innocent but
changed his testimony again at Lapena’s second trial. Lapena was nevertheless convicted
in 1977 by the State of Nevada of First-Degree Murder and Robbery with Use of
Weapon in Commission of a Crime.
1982, the Nevada Supreme Court overturned Lapena’s first conviction, but Lapena
was re-tried and re-convicted in 1989. Subsequently, in 1997, the Eighth
Judicial District Court vacated Lapena’s conviction pursuant to a
post-conviction petition for writ of habeas corpus; however, the Nevada Supreme
Court overturned the decision in 1998.
2003, Lapena sought and received a sentence commutation from the State of
Nevada Board of Pardons Commissioners. In 2017, following extensive evidentiary
hearings, the Eighth Judicial District Court determined DNA testing and
evidentiary testimony confirmed that Weakland lied about Hilda Krause’s murder.
Finally, in 2019, Lapena sought and received a full, unconditional pardon from
the State of Nevada Board of Pardons Commissioners based on his actual
2019, the Nevada Legislature adopted Assembly Bill 267, later amended by AB 104
(2021) – codified in NRS 41.900 et seq. – to compensate persons who have
been wrongfully incarcerated if they can prove, by a preponderance of the
evidence, that they did not commit the crime for which they were convicted,
were not an accomplice, and did not otherwise cause their own conviction.
Additional costs, including reasonable attorney fees, educational expenses,
counseling services and certain other reimbursements are also permitted. Lapena
is the fifth person in Nevada to receive a Certificate of Innocence under this
matter was handled by the Attorney General’s Post-Conviction Unit by Chief
Deputy Attorney General Heather Procter, Deputy Attorney General Jaimie Stilz,
and Deputy Attorney General Sheryl Serreze.