- Associated Press - Thursday, March 6, 2014

LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) - The Idaho Court of Appeals has rejected the appeal of a man serving two life terms with no possibility of parole for killing a Moscow woman.

The Lewiston Tribune reports (https://bit.ly/1nhUe7z) the court earlier this week upheld David Meister’s first-degree murder and conspiracy convictions in the 2001 shooting death 21-year-old Tonya Hart.

Meister argued that 2nd District Judge Carl B. Kerrick erred by limiting the testimony of an expert witness for the defense. But the court ruled that the information on the expert’s theories was presented to the jury during closing arguments.

Meister has failed to demonstrate reversible error,” wrote Judge David W. Gratton, with Judge Karen L. Lansing and Judge John M. Melanson concurring.

The case involves the point-blank shooting of Hart on Dec. 11, 2001. Court documents say she was shot once in the face and once in the chest when she opened the door of her trailer on U.S. Highway 95 north of Moscow.

The appeals court also found that the state presented overwhelming evidence to support Meister’s conviction. That evidence included the purchase of the same type of gun used to kill Hart, footprints in the snow matching shoes Meister owned, and witness testimony putting a man matching Meister’s description at the scene.

Police say Meister confessed to the killing. But he recanted the confession before his first trial.

Meister, a former tattoo artist, was convicted of the killing in 2003 and sentenced to life in prison, but the Idaho Supreme Court in 2010 ordered a new trial.

The second trial’s jury in November 2011 convicted Meister of first-degree murder and conspiracy. Meister requested a third trial, but in January 2012, Kerrick rejected that request. Then, in February 2012, Kerrick sentenced Meister to two life sentences.

During the sentencing, Kerrick noted that Meister killed for money as a reason to deny Meister a chance at an early release. He also cited Meister’s continued claim of innocence and his “utter disregard for human life.”


Information from: Lewiston Tribune, https://www.lmtribune.com

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