CALDWELL -- It took the jury two and a half hours to return with verdicts of guilty late this afternoon on both counts of first-degree murder for Mark H. Lankford in the 1983 murders of Arizona couple Marine Capt. Robert and Cheryl Bravence.
Date for sentencing has not yet been set.
Lankford, 63, was found guilty on both counts Friday afternoon, Sept. 20, following 10 days of testimony at trial held in Caldwell, the venue located to southern Idaho to protect Lankford’s Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial, and provide a venue with a jury pool not prejudiced due to press coverage concerning the case.
This makes the third trial for Lankford, his two prior convictions in this case being overturned. The first was overturned due to an error that occurred at his 1984 trial concerning improper jury instruction on how to handle accomplice testimony; he was retried in 2008 and convicted on both counts. That double-murder conviction was vacated by the Idaho Supreme Court in 2016. In that decision, the court stated Lankford was entitled to a new trial based on the state’s failure to disclose information regarding a leniency deal with an incarcerated witness.
Mark and his brother, Bryan, both from Texas, were first convicted and sentenced to death in 1984 for murdering the Bravences the year prior at their campsite in the Sheep Creek area outside Grangeville.
On appeal, Bryan’s sentence was reduced to life in prison. Brian, 58, is currently incarcerated in Idaho State Correctional Center in Boise, with his next parole hearing set for 2023.