25 March 2019 :
The Utah Supreme Court has ordered a new hearing for Douglas Carter, pointing to "damning revelations" from star witnesses in his case who later said police had threatened them, given them gifts and told them to lie about the financial help. If those details had come to light before Carter was sentenced to die, "a significant possibility exists that the outcome would have been different," according to the court's written opinion released late Friday. Douglas Stewart Carter, 63, Black, was sentenced to death on December 27, 1985 for murdering 57-year-old Eva Olesen, who was stabbed and shot during a home-invasion robbery Feb. 27, 1985. Jurors in the case relied on Carter's confession and his bragging to friends Epifanio and Lucia Tovar that he killed a woman. He appealed the sentence in 1992, and another jury upheld the death penalty. Carter, originally from Chicago, appealed again based on sworn statements from the Tovars, whom prosecutors tracked down in 2011. The Tovars revealed officers had threatened them with deportation, prison time and possibly taking away their infant son. After relocating them twice to protect them from Carter, Provo officers paid the couple's rent of about $400, plus utility and phone bills, and instructed them to lie under oath about the benefits during the trial, court documents say. According to the Tovars, officers also brought them groceries, a Christmas tree and toys for their son. On the stand, the couple's testimony was at times inconsistent and is "tainted as a whole" by the new evidence, the opinion states. Yet it was "crucial" to the state's case, Justice Deno Himonas wrote in the decision, noting that fingerprints and blood were found at the scene but no physical evidence tied Carter to the crime. A lower court in 2017 said the new details would likely not have led to a more favorable outcome. The decision countered that there was actually a "signifcant possibility" of a different outcome, though not for certain. The justices ordered a 4th District Court to conduct a fresh review of the new evidence. A hearing date has not yet been set.