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News >  Idaho

Court rejects reducing man’s life sentence for North Idaho killings

BOISE – The Idaho Supreme Court denied a request for a reduced sentence made by a man convicted of killing his ex-wife and her boyfriend.

The court last week rejected 54-year-old Dale C. Shackelford’s two petitions for post-conviction relief, the Lewiston Tribune reported.

Shackelford was convicted in the 1999 shooting deaths of Donna Fontaine and Fred Palahniuk in the North Idaho town of Kendrick. He was initially sentenced to death.

However, the U.S. Supreme Court later ruled that juries, not judges, must hand down death sentences. At a new hearing, Shackelford received two life sentences without parole.

In 2014, a 2nd District Court judge dismissed Shackelford’s requests for post-conviction relief, and he appealed to the Idaho Supreme Court.

Shackelford in his petition contested the fixed life sentences, saying that was the wrong sentence because a jury found no aggravating factors.

The Idaho Supreme Court disagreed.

“Shackelford does not explain how a term of fixed life imposed by a judge violates the statutory minimum,” Chief Justice Jim Jones wrote in the opinion. “On its face, the statute imposes no maximum term of fixed imprisonment. A sentence of fixed life, therefore, does not exceed statutory sentencing limits.”

Shackelford also contended his right to due process was violated, and prosecutors suppressed evidence that would have been in his favor.

The Idaho Supreme Court said none of those claims “could succeed as a matter of law.”

Shackelford remains at the Idaho State Correctional Center in Boise.

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