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Death-row inmate appeals conviction to Utah Supreme Court

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Taberon Honie

Taberon Honie

Utah State Prison

SALT LAKE CITY — A death-row inmate appealing his conviction and sentence claims his defense attorney failed to adequately look into how his background affected his behavior.

Taberon Dave Honie came from alcoholic parents, might suffer from fetal alcohol syndrome and abused drugs and alcohol himself, his appeals attorney told the Utah Supreme Court on Thursday. Honie also might have suffered brain damage from a 30-foot fall when he was teenager.

But Honie's appeals lawyer, Therese May, told the court his trial attorney didn't delve deep enough into those mitigating circumstances before Honie was convicted of sexually assaulting and slashing the throat of his ex-girlfriend's mother in 1998 at her Cedar City home.

Assistant attorney general Tom Brunker argued that the defense attorney interviewed Honie's family and hired a forensic psychologist to evaluate him. They testified about his good qualities as well as the unfortunate events of his past, he said.

The court will review the arguments and make a ruling in the coming months.