July 16, 1984: Danette Elg reported a prowling incident to the Blackfoot Police and identified Richard Leavitt as the prowler. Elg was acquainted with Leavitt, having met him through a mutual friend.
On or about July 17, 1984: Elg was murdered in her home. She had been attacked with a knife and sustained 15 separate stab and slash wounds. In addition, she had been sexually mutilated. Following her death, but before her body was discovered, Leavitt contacted the police and friends of Elg and expressed curiosity about her absence. Leavitt claimed that Elg’s co-workers and employer called him after she did not appear for work. These calls could not be confirmed.
July 21, 1984: After obtaining permission from Elg’s parents, Leavitt and Blackfoot police entered her home and discovered her body in a waterbed, which had also been slashed during the murder.
Sept. 25, 1985: A Bingham County jury found Leavitt guilty of first-degree murder and use of a deadly weapon. He was sentenced to death by 7th District Judge H. Reynold George on Dec. 19, 1985.April 23, 1986: George held an evidentiary hearing.
May 1, 1986: George denied Leavitt's petition for post-conviction relief.
May 30, 1989: The Idaho Supreme Court affirmed Leavitt's conviction, but sent the case back to district court for resentencing. The Idaho Supreme Court reversed the sentence, because the trial court failed to "detail any adequate consideration of the 'mitigating factors' considered, and whether or not the 'mitigating circumstances' outweigh the gravity of any 'aggravating circumstance' so as to make unjust the imposition of the death penalty." The state appealed to the United States Supreme Court, but the court declined to hear the state's appeal.
Dec. 21, 1989: George held a sentencing hearing.
Jan. 25, 1990: George sentenced Leavitt to death.
Nov. 27, 1991: The Idaho Supreme Court affirmed the death sentence. Leavitt appealed to the United States Supreme Court, but the court declined to hear his appeal.
April 29, 1993: Leavitt filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in United States District Court for the District of Idaho.
Feb. 20, 1996: Leavitt filed an amended petition.
Sept. 6, 2000: U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill denied Leavitt's claims and dismissed his habeas petition. Leavitt filed a motion asking the court to reconsider.
Dec. 14, 2000: Winmill granted habeas relief relating to jury instructions, and ordered the state to initiate new trial proceedings within 60 days or release Leavitt. The state and Leavitt, on different grounds, appealed Judge Winmill's decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
June 14, 2004: The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Winmill's decision granting habeas relief and ordering a new trial and affirmed his decision denying all other trial claims. However, the 9th Circuit sent the case back to Judge Winmill for consideration of Leavitt's claim of ineffective assistance of counsel during his resentencing.
Leavitt twice petitioned the 9th Circuit for reconsideration. Both petitions were denied.2005: Leavitt then appealed to the United States Supreme Court, which declined to hear his appeal from the 9th Circuit decision.
Sept. 28, 2007: Winmill granted habeas relief relating to ineffective assistance of counsel. The state appealed to the 9th Circuit.
May 7, 2011: The 9th Circuit reversed Winmill’s decision, concluding that Leavitt was not entitled to habeas sentencing relief.
Sept. 13, 2011: The 9th Circuit denied Leavitt’s petition for rehearing.
Feb. 10, 2012: Leavitt filed an appeal to the United States Supreme Court.
May 14, 2012: U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Leavitt’s case.
May 17, 2012: 7th District Judge Jon Shindurling signs death warrant for Leavitt, who will likely be executed by lethal injection June 12, 2012.--Information taken from Idaho Attorney General’s Office