Troy Kell was a teenager in Nevada convicted of murder but soon he would find himself on Utah Death Row. According to court documents Troy Kell was a part of a group of teenagers in Nevada who thought they were protecting their friend who was being harassed by an older man. Troy Kell would lead the victim out to the desert where he was shot multiple times in the head. The group may have gotten away with the murder however the story quickly spread throughout their high school and fellow students being brought to view the body and eventually the police would learn of the murder. The teen killer would be sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Now Troy Kell violence would not end in a Nevada desert as he would be transferred to Utah due to overcrowding and soon he would find himself involved in another murder. Troy Kell and a fellow inmate would stab another inmate over one hundred and sixty times all of which was caught on tape. Troy Kell would be tried for the brutal murder from a courtroom inside of prison and would be found guilty and sentenced to death. Troy Kell remains on Nevada Death Row
Troy Kell 2020 Information
Prison Number: 72819
Date of Birth: 06/13/1968
• Offenses: Robbery (Compact offense), Murder (Compact offense), Aggravated murder (Capital)
• Death sentencing date: 08/08/96 (6th District Court case #941600213)
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One of Utah’s most notorious death row cases is before a federal appeals court.
Troy Kell is facing a firing squad execution for the 1994 murder of Lonnie Blackmon inside the Central Utah Correctional Facility at Gunnison. Kell stabbed Blackmon 67 times in a murder that was captured on video
White power!” Kell screamed at corrections officers who were putting on riot gear to get into the cell block. Kell, a white supremacist, stabbed his victim, who is black, and left him to bleed to death on the floor. Kell was already serving time for another murder in Nevada.
The video of the gruesome killing was entered into evidence and used to convict Kell, who was sentenced to death
Now, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is considering how long it has taken to exhaust Kell’s appeals. Recently, a three judge panel heard arguments over a lower court’s decision to stay his case, grinding it to a halt.
“It did so in a way that irrevocably and unreviewably deprives the people of Utah of their constitutional right to timely carry out their presumptively valid sentence against Troy Kell,” assistant Utah Attorney General Andrew Peterson argued before the court.
But Kell’s attorney, Lindsey Layer, argued there are still legitimate legal issues that need to be explored and exhausted by both state and federal courts
There have been multiple stays in this case and that might be unusual, but it’s warranted by the circumstances,” she argued.
In their questions, the judges on the 10th Circuit panel wrestled with prior case law on capital punishment appeals and decisions made by other courts across the country. Senior Judge Bobby Baldock suggested this case may go to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“We either do have jurisdiction or we don’t have jurisdiction,” he said. “The groundwork’s been laid if there’s four Circuits gone one way, we go another… perfect vehicle for the Supreme Court to straighten it out.”
The 10th Circuit Court panel took the case under advisement with no timeline for when they will release a decision. The Utah Supreme Court is also considering this case.
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The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has dismissed an appeal involving Utah death row inmate Troy Kell, declaring it did not have jurisdiction to hear it.
The federal appeals court did not even weigh in on the central issue of the case — how long it has taken to exhaust Kell’s death penalty appeals — instead ruling on a technical issue. In a split ruling, the appeals court judges essentially said that Kell had not exhausted appeals in state and federal courts and they had no jurisdiction to hear it.
“Mr. Troy Kell sought habeas relief, but he had not exhausted two of his claims in state court. The unexhausted claims created a Catch-22 for Mr. Kell, risking a dismissal of all of his claims without an opportunity to timely refile. To relieve Mr. Kell of this Catch-22, the district court entered a limited stay, halting proceedings on one of the unexhausted claims while Mr. Kell returned to state court to exhaust the claim,” wrote Judge Robert Bacharach.
Judge Bobby Ray Baldock dissented, believing the 10th Circuit could hear — and decide — Kell’s case.
“The Court further ignores salient Supreme Court precedent about the collateral order doctrine and severely understates a state’s important interest in executing its sentence of death without delay— in this case, against Petitioner Troy Kell, who brutally murdered a fellow inmate almost twenty-five years ago. For these reasons, I cannot join the Court’s opinion,” he wrote.
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