Las Vegas Sun

September 18, 2014

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Seven Nevada death row inmates lose U.S. Supreme Court appeals

CARSON CITY - Just a few hours after the execution of convicted killer Roderick Abeyta, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected appeals from seven other Nevada death row inmates.

Petitions from Michael Sonner, Michael Rippo, Kevin Lisle, Antoine Williams, Lawrence Colwell, Wilbert Leslie and Edward Wilson were turned down Monday by the nation's highest court.

There was no explanation for the denials of the appeals, including two from Lisle. The inmates are among 83 on death row at Ely State Prison.

Sonner, a North Carolina jail escapee, was sentenced to death for killing Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Carlos Borland after the officer stopped him on Interstate 80 just east of Lovelock in November 1993.

The slaying was part of a cross-country crime spree that included two truck stop killings in Vega, Texas.

Rippo got the death sentence for strangling Lauri Jacobson, 27, and Denise Lizzi, 25, in a Las Vegas apartment in February 1992 during a robbery. Prosecutors said he also tortured the victims with a high-voltage stun gun.

Lisle faces execution for the murder of a police chief's son, Justin Lusch, 19, in July 1994. Lusch was the son of then-North Las Vegas Police Chief Ron Lusch.

Lisle also got a death sentence for shooting from a moving car and killing a motorist on U.S. 95 in northwest Las Vegas in October 1994. Prosecutors said Lisle was making signs signifying his gang membership and fired after the victim, Kip Logan, laughed and made an obscene finger gesture.

Williams faces death by injection for killing William Nail, 74, and his wife, Alice, 72, in September 1994 in Las Vegas.

Prosecutors said Williams went to the Nails' home to borrow money to finance a cocaine habit. When the husband refused to loan him $20, Williams strangled him with an electric cord and then crushed his skull. Williams then strangled the wife, stabbed her and kicked her in the head.

Colwell was given the death sentence for strangling a Las Vegas tourist in 1994. Frank Rosenstock, 76, was killed after Colwell's girlfriend, Merillee Paul, lured him to a hotel room to rob him. She got a life term for her part.

Leslie faces execution for the August 1994 shooting death of Air Force Master Sgt. William Prewitt, 37, during a robbery at a Las Vegas convenience store where Prewitt was moonlighting.

Wilson got the death sentence for the 1979 killing of an undercover Reno narcotics officer, James Hoff.

Hoff was making what he thought was a drug buy for about $16,000 when Wilson and three other men turned on him and stabbed him repeatedly. The others, John Olausen, Fred Stites and David Lani, got life terms.

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