September 2, 2004 in City

Murder convict appeals his case to federal court

Associated Press
 

LEWISTON – A former sheriff’s deputy convicted of two murders is appealing his case to a federal court, claiming other deputies lied during his 1995 trial.

Kenneth Arrasmith is seeking a new trial or to have the charges against him dismissed altogether.

“The lower court erred by refusing to dismiss the case … because the state knowingly concealed or destroyed exculpatory evidence,” the former Asotin County, Wash., deputy wrote in a petition filed Aug. 20 in federal court.

Arrasmith was convicted May 17, 1995, for the first-degree murder of Luella Bingham and second-degree murder of her husband, Ronald Bingham, of Lewiston.

Ronald Bingham was shot 23 times and Luella seven times at the couple’s automobile repair shop east of Lewiston.

Arrasmith claimed he was defending a young girl whom he feared the Binghams intended to rape. He also claimed the couple raped his own 15-year-old daughter.

Arrasmith claims Nez Perce County deputies found two guns at the crime scene, but withheld the evidence because the guns belonged to the son of Nez Perce County Deputy Capt. Scott Whitcomb – one of the first deputies on the scene, according to the petition.

The discovery of guns, Arrasmith argues, would have bolstered his claims that the Binghams were armed and dangerous when he shot them.

Deputies did not mention finding the guns during the trial, according to the petition. Only after the trial did the prosecution admit guns were removed from the scene.

Arrasmith also claims former Idaho 2nd District Judge Ida Leggett failed to properly instruct jurors.

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