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Sean D. Reyes
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Victory for the Utah AG’s Office | Death Penalty Upheld in Appeal of 1990 Murder

In a victory for the Utah Attorney General’s Office, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, Colorado, has upheld the original death penalty conviction of Von Lester Taylor for the 1990 double murder of Kaye Tiede and Beth Potts in Summit County, Utah.

According to an article by KSL: “On December 22, 1990, Taylor and Edward Deli walked away from a halfway house in Salt Lake City and then broke into a vacant mountain cabin in the Beaver Springs subdivision in Oakley, Summit County.”

The pair then encountered Kaye Tiede and her mother, Beth Potts, “a blind a partially handicapped Murray woman.” Shortly after walking in on the two men in the cabin, both women had been shot and killed. Taylor and Deli then robbed and shot Rolf Tiede, husband to Kaye, dousing him in gasoline before lighting the cabin on fire and kidnapping Tiede’s two daughters. Rolf and his two daughters survived the horrific attack, which ended with the arrests of both Taylor and Deli.

After being tried for the murders, attempted murder and kidnapping, Von Lester Taylor was sentenced to death and put on Utah’s death row. Taylor’s accomplice Edward Deli was sentenced to life in prison for his part in the killings. Since that time, Taylor has appealed his sentence multiple times, claiming to be innocent and that the shots that killed Tiede and Potts had actually been fired by Deli. A federal court eventually agreed with this version of events, and overturned his death penalty sentence in 2020.

Since that time, Assistant Solicitors General Andrew Peterson and Erin Riley, and others from the Utah Attorney General’s Office have been working tirelessly to ensure that justice would be done in this case. As a result of these efforts, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, CO, issued a new ruling reversing the 2020 decision and reinstating the death penalty.

According to the new ruling: “His actual innocence of capital murder as a principal does not absolve him of the substantive crime of capital murder under Utah law. He must also prove his actual innocence as an accomplice. Mr. Taylor failed to do so.”

“Mr. Taylor is not innocent in any sense of the word. The evidence clearly establishes that Mr. Taylor intended to cause the deaths of Kaye Tiede and Beth Potts and intentionally aided Mr. Deli to that end.”