Michael Mulder - Nevada Death Row
Facts of the Crime:
Convicted of the beating of a 77-year-old man at his mobile home in
Las Vegas in July 1996. John Ahart, was beaten with a blunt instrument
and his hands and feet were tied with duct tape. Ahart's 1990 Infiniti
coupe, a new watch, a jewelry box and a gun were stolen.
Supreme Court reinstates death penalty for
By Cy Ryan - Lasvegassun.com
June 18, 2009
The Nevada Supreme Court has reinstated the death
penalty for Michael J. Mulder, convicted of the 1996 robbery and
beating death of an elderly man in Las Vegas.
The court, in its unanimous opinion, overturned the
decision of District Judge Michelle Leavitt, who ruled that the
aggravating circumstances used to inflict the death penalty were
Chief Justice James Hardesty, who wrote opinion,
said the evidence of the aggravating circumstances “supports imposing
the death penalty here.”
Mulder also appealed saying the court must vacate
the death sentence because of his mental retardation caused by a
stroke and he was not competent to be executed. The court rejected
Mulder on July 8, 1996 robbed and killed 77-year-old
John Ahart in his home. Ahart was found dead in a pool of blood with
his hands and ankles bound with duct tape. He had a crushed left
cheekbone and several severe scalp lacerations, including a 15-inch
hinge fracture from the front of the skull extending around the back
of the base of the skill.
Mulder’s fingerprints were found on the duct tape
used to bound the victim.
The jury found four aggravating circumstances that
warranted the death penalty. The murder was committed during both a
robbery and a burglary; Mulder had been convicted of using violence
during a bank robbery in Arizona in 1987 and he was convicted also of
an armed robbery in Arizona in 1980.
Judge Leavitt found that two of the four
aggravators – robbery and burglary – were invalid.
The Supreme Court said, “We conclude that the jury
would have imposed a sentence of death absent the invalid aggravating
factors because the facts of this crime are particularly heinous and
involve the robbery and brutal murder of an elderly victim …”
The court said the jury’s consideration of the two
invalid felony aggravators was “harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Mulder, now 49, is housed at the Ely State Prison.
One of his arguments was that his death penalty should be nullified
because he suffered a stroke due to his use of methamphetamines while
in prison, leaving him mentally retarded.
The court said Judge Leavitt was correct in finding
Mulder was competent to assist his attorney in filing these post