CITYDESK/NEWS SENIOR COMMUNITY, NEW LIFE FOR ARMORY HIGHLIGHT STATE OF CITY When Mayor Dave Bieter stepped before nearly 1,000 attendees of his State of the City address June 5 at the Boise Centre, he was ﬂanked by some familiar faces, including six colleagues from the Boise City Council. “Three of them are under the age of 40,” said Bieter, referring to Council Members Lauren McLean, Ben Quintana and TJ Thomson. “It’s great that they can work with us old people.” Time has quickly caught up to the 52-year-old Bieter, who, only three years ago was the youngest member of the council. In fact, the biggest announcement in his 2012 State of the City was a new senior community, which would be all too anxious to welcome the mayor someday. “I’m pleased to tell you about something called ‘The Terraces,’ a brand new retirement community to be built in Harris Ranch,” said Bieter. “The project will include 150 residences and health-care services on-site.” The Terraces, a $68 million, 13-acre campus, is expected to break ground east of Eckart Road this fall. According to Bieter, construction will bring 200 jobs and, when complete, 150 full-time positions would be created to service the community. Bieter’s other big news was of particular interest to the city’s East Enders, who have been staring at the long-abandoned Boise Armory for decades. “Some new developers are very tentative about publicity,” said Bieter. But following hizzoner’s very public announcement, the city was buzzing about California-based J&M Land’s plans to purchase and renovate the armory. “They’ll be under way with their zoning approval process in the next couple of weeks,” said Bieter. “Construction could begin within a couple of months.” Bieter also offered a report card on The Greenhouse, a business incubator he ﬁrst announced in his 2009 State of the City and which opened in September 2010. “I’m pleased to announce our ﬁrst graduation from The Greenhouse,” he said. “Afﬁnity Amp, a mobile software company, is ready to move on. But I’m also excited to announce that Anboto is moving in.” Anboto, a Web customer service and e-commerce technology ﬁrm, was chosen as “start-up of the year” in the 2010 Innovate 100 list of international start-ups. More importantly, at least to Bieter, is that Anboto is based in Spain’s Basque country. The three-term mayor is a secondgeneration Basque American. —George Prentice
Mayor Dave Bieter has delivered seven State of the City addresses sans-teleprompter.
10 | JUNE 6–12, 2012 | BOISEweekly
“DID YOU STAB DANETTE ELG?” Death row inmate undergoes polygraph on gruesome murder GEORGE PRENTICE The moral forces of fact and truth are as signiﬁcant as life and death. While truth is manifest by subjectivity or faith, fact is conﬁrmed by certainty or science. But it’s possible to converge fact and truth when science measures the probability of truth or, to be more precise, the false-positive detection of a lie. In the few days leading up to 10 a.m. on Tuesday, June 12, someone, perhaps a federal judge, Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, or even Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter,
been discovered at the scene of the murder, will need to decide if there is any reason that Richard Leavitt should not be put to death. At but Leavitt said he had suffered a nosebleed while helping Elg with her move in. A jury least, not just yet. also heard about how Elg had gotten into No one disputes the most important facts in the case of Richard A. Leavitt vs. The State a violent argument with roommate Thelma Wilkins on July 10, 1984, resulting in Elg of Idaho: On July 21, 1984, a Blackfoot police ofﬁcer discovered the body of 31-year-old asking Wilkins to move out. In cross-examination, Wilkins said she and Danette Elg, a single woman, Elg had been lovers. inside her home. Ironically, Following a 10-day trial, a Elg was scheduled to report The Idaho Department of Correction has opted to use jury of six men and six women to the Blackfoot jail that same a one-drug injection method deliberated for three-and-a-half evening to serve a sentence for the execution of Richard hours before convicting Leavitt for a previous conviction of Leavitt—two syringes, each of ﬁrst-degree murder on Sept. driving while under the containing 2.5 grams of pentobarbital. 25, 1985. inﬂuence. But on Sept. 28, 1985, But lawmen Bingham County Prosecuting guessed that Attorney Thomas Moss told the Blackfoot Elg had been dead for as Morning News something that has troubled many as four days when Leavitt for nearly 37 years. they found her, stabbed “We thought we should leave out certain repeatedly in her heart and lungs, her genitals evidence because we did not want to risk an appeal,” Moss told the Morning News. and anus removed But Leavitt did appeal the verdict and from her body. his subsequent death sentence on numerous Nearly ﬁve months later, Black- occasions. In 1989, the Idaho Supreme Court foot police arrested pushed the case back to a Bingham County courtroom for resentencing, but Seventh DisLeavitt—then trict Justice H. Reynold George stuck by his 26 years old, a initial decision, resentencing Leavitt to death. married meIn 2000, U.S. District Judge B. Lynn chanic with two Winmill ordered the State of Idaho to initiate children—and new trial proceedings but Idaho prosecucharged him with tors appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Elg’s murder. Leavitt was the Appeals, which reversed Winmill’s decision and reafﬁrmed Leavitt’s conviction. The U.S. nephew of Elg’s former roommate Supreme Court twice declined to hear Leavitt’s appeals, ﬁrst in 2005 and again on May 7, and had helped 10 days before a death warrant was issued, Elg move into her ordering Leavitt to die by lethal injection on residence in early Tuesday, June 12. July 1984. Leavitt “I have very strong personal feelings about suffered a gash on injustice and falsely convicting innocent one of his ﬁngers people,” said Dr. Charles Honts, nationally reabout the time that Elg was killed, but he insisted nowned polygraph expert and Boise State psythat he had been cut while chology professor. “I think what a polygraph does is start to ask questions, and it appears preventing his wife from that there are some questions here.” slashing her wrists when Honts is one of the few people to see Leavitt she learned of his having since the death warrant was issued, ordering an affair with another his transfer to the F block of the Idaho State woman. A forensic special- Maximum Security Institution, south of Boise. Honts was reluctant to talk about his visit, but ist testiﬁed that Boise Weekly learned that he had seen Leavitt blood matching along with the condemned man’s attorney, Leavitt’s type David Nevin, on May 23. had “Going to a prison is not unusual for me. I have performed quite a few polygraphs behind bars,” said Honts. “But going to the death house, that was unique.” Honts has performed hundreds of polygraphs—maybe a thousand, he said. Following his studies in biol12 ogy and psychology in the 1970s and
Richard Albert Leavitt has been behind bars since December 5, 1984.
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