Idaho Supreme Court reverses sentence for Greenbelt killer

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Idaho Supreme Court reverses sentence for Greenbelt killer

Post  Jennie on Fri Jun 20, 2008 11:44 am

On Wednesday, Idaho's Supreme Court handed down a decision to reverse the death sentence for convicted Greenbelt killer Darrel Payne.

Payne was sentenced in 2002 for the kidnapping, rape and murder of Boise State University student Samantha Maher.

The court says statements made by the victim's family and friends during the sentencing phase were unconstitutional because they offered specific sentencing recommendations.

Because of this, Payne will receive a new sentencing hearing.

Samantha Maher's father Paul Blomberg says today’s ruling surprised him.

He says justice was served six years ago and believes Payne’s death sentence is fair.

"He had a choice that day. He could have went to work. But he chose not to. He chose to do that evil. That was his choice," said Blomberg,

He recalls a scripture he quoted during the sentencing phase.

"Numbers 35:16 refers to if a man strikes someone with an iron object, so that the person dies, he is a murderer and this murderer shall be put to death," he said.

Even though the court ruled Wednesday - statements made by Blomberg and other family members and friends unconstitutional - he stands by what he said.

Blomberg says it has been a painful eight years for his family since the murder of Samantha.

"There's certain reminders that are difficult. When you see a police officer with handcuffs. What comes to your mind? How he handcuffed Samantha," he said.

He says it would be disheartening and frustrating to know that the time spent during the trial could ultimately end without a death sentence for Payne.

"When you look at the Ten Commandments and it says thou shalt not kill. And it's right in our U.S. Supreme Court. I think sometimes the U.S. Supreme Court has forgot that," he said.

For now, Blomberg says he and his family will rely on faith.

"The blessing we have is that we know where Samantha's at. And that's a blessing we have," he said.

Blomberg hopes his family will have a voice in the resentencing.

He thinks about Samantha every day and adds that she would have turned 30 this October.

According to Deputy Attorney General Lamont Anderson, the opinion does not become final for another 14 days.

And, because it is not final - a date has not been set for the resentencing.

(source: KTVB News)
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