U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Appeal From Idaho Killer

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John Delling is serving a life sentence, without parole, for two convictions of second-degree murder.
  • John Delling is serving a life sentence, without parole, for two convictions of second-degree murder.

The U.S. Supreme Court sent down an order this morning in which it refused to consider an appeal of a convicted Idaho man who claimed he had a constitutional right to plead not guilty by reason of insanity. The high court rejected the appeal from convicted killer John Delling, who shot and killed two Idaho men and wounded another in a 2007 crime spree.

In Delling's 2009 trial, his attorneys said the killer was lost in severe paranoid schizophrenia while committing his crimes. But while 4th District Judge Deborah Bail acknowledged Delling's illness, she also ruled that he should never leave prison. In 2011, the Idaho Supreme Court upheld Bail's decision and said the killer's life-without-parole sentence was not excessive and was supported by Idaho law.

Delling appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court and while Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor indicated that they would have heard the case, the high court's majority rejected the hearing, upholding Idaho's law which, along with three other states, bars defendants from claiming they were legally insane or unable to appreciate that their crimes were wrong.

In March 2007, Delling, a graduate of Timberline High School in Boise, killed childhood friend David Boss in Moscow. Delling was also linked to the Arizona shooting of another former classmate, Jacob Thompson, but Delling was not charged in that crime. Delling admitted to the shooting.

In April 2007, Delling shot Boise State student Bradley Morse while he was leaving his job as a night janitor at the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation. The two had met online through computer gaming.

Delling ultimately pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder, but said he was no longer a threat and apologized to the victims' families.

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