Suspect in Utah murders appeals Nevada convictions
Elko, Nev. • A Utah man facing murder charges in the 2011 shooting deaths of an elderly Utah couple in a two-state crime spree that already has him serving up to 56 years in a Nevada prison is appealing his conviction for kidnapping during a botched carjacking at a West Wendover casino.
Utah prosecutors filed murder charges against Logan McFarland, 26, in Sanpete County in May after he was sent to the Ely State Prison for six felonies including kidnapping, robbery and car theft.
The Elko Daily Free Press reports that McFarland’s appeal filed this week with the Nevada Supreme Court seeks to overturn his convictions for first-degree kidnapping and committing an offense in a stolen vehicle. His lawyer argues that those charges were handled incorrectly because the theft of a woman’s purse occurred before any kidnapping and he never intended to keep the vehicle he briefly commandeered during the car-jacking.
Prosecutors said McFarland and accomplice Angela Hill had driven a stolen car to West Wendover in December 2011, where the pair approached a woman, Rattanaphorn Keomanivong, who was walking to her vehicle.
McFarland nabbed the victim’s purse then went back to the original car before Hill drove off in the other car with the owner in the passenger seat. The victim eventually fought off Hill and freed herself as McFarland pulled up in the first car. Keomanivong escaped, but she suffered a non-fatal gunshot to the head.
Under Nevada law, a person has committed first-degree kidnapping if he or she takes or confines a victim with the intent of committing another serious crime.
Gary Woodland, who represented McFarland at trial in February, said the purse robbery had occurred before Hill drove away with the victim.
"Even though a kidnapping may have followed when Ms. Hill drove away with Ms. Keomanivong, it had nothing to do with the robbery," said the appeal, which also argues that in order to be guilty of committing an offense in a stolen vehicle, the prosecutor must prove McFarland intended to permanently deprive the owner of the car.
"Nothing had been done to prevent the true owner from re-obtaining possession of it," said the appeal, adding that McFarland "did not intend to keep the automobile any appreciable length of time and had done nothing to disable, disguise, or hide the vehicle."
Hill, 28, originally was charged with attempted murder, but he accepted a plea deal on charges of kidnapping, burglary and robbery and was sentenced to up to 31 years in prison.
McFarland has been charged with aggravated murder in the slaying of Leroy Fullwood, 70, and his wife, Dorothy, 69, whose bodies were found in their home in Mount Pleasant, Utah, on Dec. 31, 2011. Extradition proceedings are pending in that case.