The crime that put Richard Leavitt on death row

The crime that put Richard Leavitt on death row

Print
Email
|

by Natalie Podgorski

KTVB.COM

Posted on June 6, 2012 at 6:02 PM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 4 at 4:21 PM

BOISE -- With just six days until his scheduled execution Richard Leavitt is running out of options.  Late Tuesday night, the Idaho Commission of Pardons and Parole said it will not consider a clemency request for the condemned killer.

Leavitt is scheduled to die next Tuesday by lethal injection, for the murder of a woman in Blackfoot.

When the judge sentenced Leavitt to death almost 27 years ago, he said the murder of Danette Elg was heinous, atrocious and cruel.

Police found her dead in her Blackfoot home back in July of 1984.  Leavitt stabbed her at least 15 times and cut out her sexual organs.  Police did not find the 31-year-old's body until days after the murder.

Police records show Leavitt was with officers when they found Elg's body.  He had expressed his concern to police because Elg had not been seen for a few days.

Police found Leavitt's blood at the crime scene.  He was arrested in December, five months after the murder.

The prosecutor in the case, Tom Moss, says even after all these year it still stands out in his mind.

"The brutality of the crime itself is the thing that stands out the most," said Moss.

The case went to trial in September of 1985.  Twelve days after it started, the jury came back with a guilty verdict.  A few months later, a judge sentenced him to death.

"To have a death sentence imposed, you've got to have something above and beyond the ordinary murder, if there is such a thing," said Moss.

Leavitt has maintained his innocence in the case.

Leavitt challenged his death sentence.  It was overturned more than once but in the end his sentence remained the same and his execution is moving forward.

KTVB talked to him in prison back in 2002 shortly after he was taken off death row.

"It's rough for about like mainly the first three, four years," said Leavitt.  "But then you start settling in and all there is to do is read books, watch TV, listen to the radio and that gets boring after a while."

At that time, he didn't have an execution date set but he said the feeling of death lingered.

"You try not to think about it. It is hard but you try to, when you can, put yourself elsewhere you don't think of things you've done or you'd like to do," said Leavitt.

Leavitt appealed to the Idaho Supreme Court, but Tuesday the high court denied his motion to overthrow the death warrant.

If Leavitt's execution goes forward as planned, he will be the second person executed by the state in the last seven months.

The execution is set for June 12 at 10:00 a.m.

Print
Email
|