OGDEN — It only took a jury 90 minutes Wednesday to find confessed killer Douglas Lovell guilty of murdering an Ogden woman 30 years ago to silence her.

The question now is whether Lovell will, once again, be ordered to die for the crime.

The same nine-man, three-woman jury that convicted him will now be tasked with deciding whether he should receive the death penalty or a sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole. Testimony in that penalty phase hearing begins Friday.

Now 57, Lovell pleaded guilty in 1993 to killing Joyce Yost, 39, in 1985 to keep her from testifying that he had kidnapped and raped her. Lovell's guilty plea was part of a deal to keep him off death row, provided he led police to Yost's body, which he said he buried in a shallow grave in Ogden Canyon.

Yost's body was never found, and in 1993 a judge sentenced Lovell to die by lethal injection.

But in 2010, the Utah Supreme Court allowed him to withdraw his guilty plea after he argued that he had not been properly informed of his constitutional rights when the plea bargain was made, and a new trial for Lovell began Monday.

Wednesday conviction wasn't a surprise since even his own attorneys didn't contest his guilt. Instead, they have focused attention on the upcoming penalty phase and keeping Lovell from returning to death row.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty anew, arguing this week that Lovell's murder of Yost was cold and calculated, and the culmination of a four-month plot with multiple false starts. Lovell hired two other hit men, but when those attempts failed, he stalked Yost to find a way to kill her himself.

Prosecutor Gary Heward, citing Lovell's confessions to his ex-wife about the murder, said Yost was terrified and begged him for her life. But Lovell drugged her so she would be too disoriented to call for help, then drove her to Ogden Canyon, choked her, stomped on her neck and buried her in leaves.

Defense attorney Michael Bouwhuis asked jurors whether they could in good conscience sentence another person to die.

"This case will focus on one very important decision you will make," Bouwhuis said during opening statements Monday. "That is, whether you are willing to give a life."

On Wednesday, he asked them to withhold judgment.

"What Doug Lovell did in 1985 is absolutely horrible. There's no excuse for it," Bouwhuis said. But he asked the jury to wait for more information in the sentencing hearing before deciding his fate.

The last time a death sentence was imposed in Utah was in 2008.

Lovell was asked in a 1993 Associated Press interview, in which he graphically described how he killed Yost, whether he was connected to the disappearances of two other women in northern Utah around the same time as Yost. He denied knowing them.

Sheree Warren, 25, was last seen leaving her bank job in Ogden on Oct. 2, 1985. Her body was never found, but her car was located a month later in Las Vegas.

Theresa Rose Greaves, 23, went missing Aug. 5, 1983, after leaving her home for a job interview. Her body was found on a Fruits Heights hillside just last month and her remains were identified just days ago.

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