The new trial for a Logan man convicted of murdering his infant son has been postponed indefinitely because defense attorneys have been unable to locate a key witness.
Steven Ray James was scheduled to stand trial Monday a second time for the 1986 death of 3-month-old Steven Roy James, but 3rd District Judge Pat B. Brian canceled the trial, ordering the case back to the Utah Supreme Court.The high court ruled last October that James could have a new trial because Kenneth Lisner, a Utah State Prison inmate, said a key prosecution witness, also a prison inmate, lied on the witness stand in James' original trial.
Defense attorneys, however, have not spoken to Lisner since November 1989. And although a Las Vegas police officer claimed to have seen Lisner in late January, Brian said there is "no reasonable assurance" to believe Lisner can be found within six months or six years.
So Brian will ask the Utah Supreme Court to reinstate James' original murder conviction or clarify its October ruling in light of Lisner's disappearance.
James, who was convicted by jury of killing his son, has maintained his innocence.