Lankford murder retrial to have Lewiston judge

A Lewiston judge will preside over the third trial of twice-convicted murderer Mark Lankford.

Second District Judge Jay Gaskill has been appointed to the case of the now-61-year-old Lankford after the Idaho Supreme Court ruled Lankford is entitled to a new trial.

Lankford and his brother Bryan were initially convicted in the 1983 beating deaths of a Texas couple camping in the Idaho County backcountry.

Lankford was granted a second trial in 2007 due to a jury instruction error from the 1984 proceedings.  A jury in 2008 found Lankford guilty on two counts of first-degree murder, and he was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole.

However, the Idaho Supreme Court ruled prosecutors violated his constitutional right to a fair trial in the second go-around.  A new trial date has not yet been set.

A hearing to do so was scheduled for Thursday but has been postponed after an Idaho County public defender filed a motion to withdraw as Lankford’s attorney.

Lankford is being held at the Idaho Correctional Institution at Orofino.

Meanwhile, Bryan Lankford’s death sentence eventually was overturned and he was re-sentenced to life in prison.  He is scheduled for a parole hearing in October 2018. (LMT)

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