Death sentences for three upheld by Nevada court


CARSON CITY -- The state Supreme Court has upheld death sentences given to two Las Vegas killers and refused to order a new hearing for a third man who has been on the state's death row since 1984.

Justices in separate decisions found no reasons to overturn the death sentence given to Steve Homick, now 71, in 1989 or the one given to Gregory Leonard, now 49, in 1998.

They also dismissed without comment a request by 69-year-old John Oliver Snow for a new hearing on the capital sentence he received in 1984.

Nevada operates a death row wing for about 80 inmates at Ely State Prison. But Snow and Leonard are housed temporarily at the regional prison infirmary at the Northern Nevada Correctional Center in Carson City. Homick is serving his time in a California prison because he also was convicted of a murder in that state.

In one decision, justices found Homick had not shown that prosecutors withheld evidence that could have cleared him when he was tried for the Dec. 11, 1985, murders of Bobbie Jean Tipton and Marie Bullock in Tipton's home. Homick also killed a man, James Meyers, who came to the house during the robbery.

Justices noted that many of the claims brought up by Homick in his third, post-conviction brief were procedurally barred because he did not bring them up 15 years ago during the appeal of his conviction.

In Leonard's decision, the court noted he had waited eight years after his first appeal to bring up new claims, and consequently his petition was barred by court rules.

But justices said none of the new claims brought up by Leonard would have affected the outcome of the trial. He was convicted of strangling Thomas Williams after a dispute over a gambling jackpot. Leonard subsequently pawned property taken from Williams and left a message on a pager that indirectly referred to the murder.

Snow was a contract killer who was paid $5,000 in 1983 to murder Harry Wham, the owner of the Keyboard Lounge in Las Vegas.

He was paid by Peggy "Stormy" Wham to kill her husband in what became one of the most celebrated murder cases at the time.

In a prison interview years ago with the Review-Journal, Snow denied he was even in Nevada at the time of the murder.

Wham received a life sentence but was freed in 1998 by the state Pardons Board after her health declined. Her lawyer, Oscar Goodman, asked Pardons Board members to "see for yourself" as he stood by Wham, who weighed 80 pounds and was battling cancer. She died less than a year later.

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at evogel@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3901.

 

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