For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
Date: February 23, 2006
Jury Sentences Timothy Dunlap to Death
(Boise) – A Sixth District Court jury in Soda Springs has sentenced Timothy Alan Dunlap to death for the 1991 murder of Tonya Crane during a bank robbery in Soda Springs, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said. The jury reached its decision after seven days of trial and more than five hours of deliberations. Sixth District Judge Don L. Harding presided over the resentencing proceeding.
Dunlap’s new sentence stems from appellate court review of his previous death sentence for the murder he committed while robbing the Security State Bank in Soda Springs. On October 16, 1991, Dunlap walked into the Security State Bank in Soda Springs, approached teller Tonya Crane and ordered, “Give me all your money.” Crane gave Dunlap approximately $32,00.00. Dunlap then fatally shot Crane with a sawed-off shotgun from less than two feet away.
Dunlap was arrested the same day. During an interview with police, Dunlap confessed to robbing the bank and murdering Tonya Crane. He also confessed to murdering his girlfriend, Belinda Bolanos, in Ohio with a crossbow.
Dunlap was charged with first-degree murder and robbery. On December 30, 1991, Dunlap pled guilty to Crane’s first-degree murder. On April 20, 1992, the Honorable William H. Woodland sentenced Dunlap to death. The Idaho Supreme Court affirmed Dunlap’s conviction and death sentence on July 27, 1993. The United States Supreme Court declined to review the case on February 28, 2004.
On May 12, 1994, Dunlap filed a petition for post-conviction relief, contending his trial attorneys were ineffective and asking that he be permitted to withdraw his guilty plea. On March 23, 1995, Judge Woodland dismissed the petition because it was not filed within forty-two days of entry of judgment. On March 19, 1998, the Idaho Supreme Court reversed that decision and remanded Dunlap’s case for further proceedings.
On April 11, 2000, the state conceded Dunlap would have to be sentenced again because his trial attorneys improperly provided confidential mental health information to the prosecutor and the court prior to his sentencing.
On January 11, 2002, Judge Woodland denied Dunlap’s request to withdraw his guilty plea. However, based upon the state’s concession, Judge Woodland ordered a new sentencing. On November 30, 2004, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed Judge Woodland’s decision and ordered that Dunlap be sentenced again. The United States Supreme Court again declined to review the case on October 31, 2005.
At the request of Caribou County Prosecuting Attorney S. Criss James, the Special Prosecutions Unit of the Attorney General’s Criminal Law Division served as special prosecutor for the resentencing hearing.
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