PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – When a notorious killer was granted a fifth trial after being sentenced to death four times, the Oregon Attorney General’s Office told KOIN 6 News they hoped to change the judge’s mind.
However, in a Tuesday hearing, lawyers for Randy Lee Guzek convinced the judge that the case should start from scratch.
At 18 years old, Guzek was sentenced to death for murdering Lois and Rod Houser in their central Oregon home in 1987 with two other men.
After Guzek’s 1988 original death sentence was overturend, he had to be sentenced again in 1991 in a penalty phase trial. That happened again in 1997 and 2010. This is the first court review of his case that is granting him an entirely new trial.
The judge said the decision was partially made due to the Oregon Attorney General’s Office’s use of incorrect numbers in documents to dispute Guzek’s arguments for a new trial.
“No case in Oregon should be decided by virtue of obvious typos in a pleading document, much less a post-conviction matter where the underlying crimes involve two counts of aggravated murder,” said Greg Rios with the Oregon Attorney General’s office.
Guzek’s attorney, Karen Steele, said “We contacted the state and let them know about what we perceived to be deficiencies in their answers. As the court has observed, they ignored that email.”
The Oregon Attorney General’s office told KOIN 6 they plan to appeal to the Oregon Court of Appeals.
Stay with KOIN 6 as this story develops.