SALLISAW, Okla. - An Oklahoma appeals court delayed implementation of a ruling overturning the murder conviction of a teen convicted of killing two people in a shooting spree.
The delay led to the cancellation of a Monday hearing that could have transferred Daniel Hawke Fears from prison to a state mental hospital.
The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals granted state Attorney General Drew Edmondson's request for a stay of its ruling declaring Fears not guilty by reason of insanity. The July 7 decision reversed Fears' convictions in an Oct. 26, 2002, shooting spree that left two people dead and eight others wounded in Sequoyah County.
"We're grateful that they stayed issuance of the mandate," Edmondson's spokesman Charlie Price said. "Hopefully, the court will look favorably upon our request for rehearing."
Edmondson's office argued that the Fears decision deserved a rehearing because the Court of Criminal Appeals took Fears' fate out of the hands of a jury of his peers.
The appellate panel's stay was not a ruling on whether it will grant the rehearing itself.
"The order is not unexpected," defense attorney Rob Nigh said. "I don't feel that the stay is any prediction about what will occur on the merits" of the appeal.