Post conviction process in the Gregory Fester case. A recent Cass County District Court ruling went against Fester and the defense has requested the paperwork be sent to the Nebraska Court of Appeals.in the Gregory Fester case. A recent Cass County District Court ruling went against Fester and the defense has requested the paperwork be sent to the Nebraska Court of Appeals.
The Cassgram reports the now 26-year-old Fester and now 24-year-old Jessica Reid, both of Wisconsin, each pled guilty to two counts of Second Degree Murder in January of 2007 and both were sentenced to consecutive life sentences on each count, the stiffest penalties they could have received. Their guilty pleas were in connection to the April 2006 shotgun slayings of Wayne and Sharmon Stock of rural Murdock.
Their life sentences were upheld by the Nebraska Supreme Court in January of 2008.
Fester has continued his appeal process since then. Fester is represented by Michael Ziskey of the alternate public defender’s office. Nebraska Assistant Attorney General Corey O’Brien is the attorney for the state.
Several months ago in the post-conviction proceedings Ziskey laid out eight grounds to show how Fester’s constitutional rights were allegedly violated.
Cass County District Court Judge Randall Rehmeier dismissed six of those points but did agree to an evidentiary hearing on two grounds. A hearing was held in Cass County District Court this past November.
One of the defense points was that the Fester’s plea was invalid because he was of unsound mind and on medication. It also alleged that Fester was threatened by investigators.
In the recent ruling from Rehmeier, it was noted that Fester had undergone a mental evaluation in 2006. As a result, Rehmeier said the claims of Fester being of unsound mind were “without merit.” The judge also ruled the record does not reflect any threats made by investigators.
The defense also argued that the court appointed defense attorney at the time, Alan Stoler, did not provide effect assistance to Fester. In response, Rehmeier noted that Fester testified at the time of his plea that he was satisfied with Stoler’s counsel. Rehmeier said the post-conviction proceedings “failed to prove” Stoler was ineffective.
Included the court files going forward to the Nebraska Court of Appeals is an affidavit of poverty that shows Fester has no assets and the cost of the appeal is being charged to Cass County.