Deskins appeal denied |

Deskins appeal denied

Ninth District Judge J.E. DeVilbiss rejected a request Monday by Gerald Deskins to quash a 1993 conviction, for which Deskins is serving life in prison.

Deskins was found guilty of child abuse resulting in death, vehicular homicide, drunken driving and vehicular assault after causing a head-on accident near Rifle Aug. 25, 1992, that killed Kelsey Wilkinson, 9, Brian Wilkinson, 3, and Michael Erickson, 9. Two other people, including another child, were also seriously injured in the crash.

Deskins, who was in a wheelchair during a court appearance two weeks ago, was not present at Monday’s hearing.

In a continuation of a hearing on the matter last week, Deskins’ attorney, Mark Rubinstein, claimed Deskins lost his case because he received ineffective counsel from public defender James Conway.

Witnesses, he said, were not sequestered during the trial, possibly contaminating their testimony, Rubinstein said.

“As such, prejudice occurred,” he said.

Also, he said Conway did not hire a forensic expert for the case, a fact that hurt Deskins’ chances of winning, Rubinstein said.

“I believe Mr. Deskins was prejudiced by the non-hiring of an accident reconstructionist,” Rubinstein said.

Prosecutor Jan Hindman said that to quash a conviction, rather than just making an allegation, there must be proof that his attorney was ineffective.

“He would have to prove there was prejudice. The defendant in this case has failed to meet his burden,” Hindman said.

Making no bones about it, DeVilbiss agreed.

“Briefly stated, I agree with Ms. Hindman,” he said. “The defendant did not meet his burden of proof that he had ineffective counsel. Mr. Deskins was convicted because of his behavior and the amount of evidence against him, not because of ineffective counsel.”

Deskins, who has repeatedly tried to have his conviction overturned, will continue to serve multiple life sentences in prison.

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