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Man Convicted Of 1984 Blackfoot Murder To Be Executed In June

A 7th District judge has signed a death warrant for condemned inmate Richard Albert Leavitt, ordering that he be executed by lethal injection within the next 30 days.

Barring any last-minute court intervention, Leavitt will likely be executed on June 12.

Leavitt was convicted in the July 18, 1984 brutal murder of 31-year-old Danette Elg in Blackfoot. Prosecutors said he stabbed her at least 15 times with exceptional force, and then cut out her sexual organs either as she died or shortly thereafter.

Before she was murdered, Elg had reported a prowling incident to police that involved Leavitt. Officers later received an anonymous call from a person claiming to be a jogger who said he thought something was happening at Elgs’ home. Police now believe the caller was Leavitt.

Officers checked the house, but it was locked. Eventually, police got permission from her parents to go into the house for a wellness check. Leavitt went with the officers into the home when the mutilated body was discovered.

Before the Leavitt was prosecuted, he stopped by prosecutor Tom Moss’ office to ask how the case was going. Moss said Thursday he found that odd.

The most significant evidence leading to Leavitt’s first-degree murder conviction was blood. Although there was no DNA testing at that time, Leavitt had a cut on his hand, and the enzymes in his blood matched the blood found at the murder scene.

Leavitt’s defense attorneys have argued he had ineffective counsel during his trial, and he has brain damage and a mental disorder that contributed to his actions.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider Leavitt’s appeal on Monday, and Judge Jon Shindurling signed the death warrant on Thursday.

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