Lubbock death penalty overturned in 1998 double murder - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/27/10

Lubbock death penalty overturned in 1998 double murder

U.S. District Court Judge Sam Cummings U.S. District Court Judge Sam Cummings

By James Clark | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – The death penalty portion of a Lubbock capital murder case is overturned by U.S. District Court Judge Sam Cummings. In an opinion and ruling Thursday, Cummings wrote that Michael Yowell had been denied both due process and effective assistance of counsel. The Lubbock County District Attorney's office has six months to either redo the punishment phase of Yowell's trial or impose a sentence of life in prison.

Yowell was convicted of capital murder for killing both his parents in May of 1998. Their badly burned bodies were found after an explosion and fire.

Judge Cummings was critical of defense attorneys Jack Stoffregen and Mark Fesmire in his order, saying in part, "the actions of Yowell's trial counsel in failing to investigate and present compelling mitigation evidence fell so far below the standard of care required of counsel … as to constitute ineffective assistance of counsel." Cummings also said Yowell's rights under the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution were violated.

But Judge Cummings also took aim at 140th State District Judge Jim Bob Darnell. "Yowell was denied due process of law when the trial court denied his expert the opportunity to render an opinion on mental health records admitted without objection."

Stoffregan has since become the Chief Public Defender in the Lubbock-based capital murder public defender program. Stoffregen was not available for comment Friday. KCBD NewsChannel 11 left a message, and if Stoffregen calls back we will follow up with his comments.

Copyright 2010 KCBD. All rights reserved.
  • Local News on KCBD.comNewsMore>>

  • School shooting puts pressure on Florida lawmakers to act

    School shooting puts pressure on Florida lawmakers to act

    Saturday, February 17 2018 11:00 PM EST2018-02-18 04:00:42 GMT
    Monday, February 19 2018 11:04 PM EST2018-02-20 04:04:31 GMT
    Pressure is growing for tougher gun-control laws after a shooting at a Florida high school that killed 17 people.
    Pressure is growing for tougher gun-control laws after a shooting at a Florida high school that killed 17 people.
  • US postal worker found fatally shot in mail truck in Dallas

    US postal worker found fatally shot in mail truck in Dallas

    Monday, February 19 2018 1:51 PM EST2018-02-19 18:51:49 GMT
    Monday, February 19 2018 11:04 PM EST2018-02-20 04:04:01 GMT
    A United States Postal Service driver was shot and killed on the highway early Monday morning in Dallas, Texas. (Source: KTVT/CNN)A United States Postal Service driver was shot and killed on the highway early Monday morning in Dallas, Texas. (Source: KTVT/CNN)

    Dallas police: U.S. Postal Service worker found fatally shot inside a mail truck along busy highway, case being investigated as a homicide.

    Dallas police: U.S. Postal Service worker found fatally shot inside a mail truck along busy highway, case being investigated as a homicide.

  • Trump offers support for limited effort on background checks

    Trump offers support for limited effort on background checks

    Monday, February 19 2018 1:00 AM EST2018-02-19 06:00:59 GMT
    Monday, February 19 2018 11:02 PM EST2018-02-20 04:02:26 GMT

    In a series of furious tweets from Mar-a-Lago, Trump vented about Russia, raging at the FBI for what he perceived to be a fixation on the Russia investigation at the cost of failing to deter the attack on a Florida high school.

    In a series of furious tweets from Mar-a-Lago, Trump vented about Russia, raging at the FBI for what he perceived to be a fixation on the Russia investigation at the cost of failing to deter the attack on a Florida high school.

Powered by Frankly