Reversal Of Murder Verdict Stands

A state appeals court rules that its decision in the case of Daniel Fears, accused in a shooting spree, was proper.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that it acted correctly six months ago when it reversed the murder convictions of Daniel Hawke Fears and put in its own verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity, it said in an opinion made public Monday.

One of the appellate court’s dissenting judges, however, accused his colleagues of acting like “philosopher kings” in substituting their own findings for those of the jury.

The court denied a request by Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson that the justices rehear the Fears reversal, which should move him out of prison and into a mental health center. The court agreed earlier to delay that transfer while it considered Edmondson’s motion.

In the ruling filed Friday, the court decided that Edmondson was wrong in his argument that the case should go back to a jury of Fears’ peers.

“The state mistakenly suggests that this court does not have the authority to reach its decision,” read the majority opinion reached by Judges Charles S. Chapel, Charles A. Johnson, and David B. Lewis.


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