In Utah, a death row prisoner has been granted a new trial on the grounds that prosecutors knowingly withheld evidence from the defense. Now, Douglas Carter, who was originally charged with the murder of Eva Olsen and sentenced to death in 1985, will have another shot to argue his innocence, after an extensive ruling from Utah County District Court Judge Derek P. Pullan. There was no physical evidence of Carter’s involvement, and he was convicted based on a confession he claims was coerced and the testimony of two witnesses.
The withheld evidence at the center of the case includes proof that police coerced false testimony from two witnesses and provided “thousands of dollars in financial benefits” along with threats to deport them and separate them from their child if they did not testify against Carter. Epifanio and Lucia Tovar recanted their testimony and testified that they were coerced. On Monday, prosecutors announced they plan to appeal the decision.