A man convicted and sentenced to death four times for the 1987 murder of a Terrebonne couple will get a fifth trial.
KOIN-TV in Portland reports lawyers for Randy Lee Guzek convinced a retiring judge Tuesday that the case should start from scratch, despite efforts by the Oregon Attorney General to keep the most recent verdict.
Guzek was sentenced to death for murdering Lois and Rod Houser in their home with two other men when he was 18.
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Guzek’s death sentence has been overturned three times and he had to be re-sentenced.
This time, the entire trial was overturned on procedural grounds — including that the Oregon Attorney General’s office didn’t use correct numbers in documents disputing Guzek’s arguments for a new trial.
“No case in Oregon should be decided by virtue of obvious typos in a pleading document, much less a post conviction matter where the underlying crimes involve two counts of aggravated murder,” said Greg Rios with the Oregon Attorney General’s Office.
“We are here today your honor because of the state’s choices. They chose not to submit a sufficient answer,” said Karen Steele, Guzek’s attorney.
The judge also ruled one of Guzek’s original lawyers should have asked for more time to prepare for trial back in 1988.
The Oregon Attorney General’s office says it will appeal.
A new factor in the current case is that former Oregon Gov. Kate Brown commuted the death sentences of everyone on death row. It’s possible Guzek could be eligible for an immediate parole hearing even if his sentence is reinstated, based on the law in effect at the time of the murders.