Death warrant filed for Utah inmate; death by firing squad possible

Jan 17, 2024, 8:58 PM | Updated: Jan 18, 2024, 6:37 am

SALT LAKE CITY — A death warrant has been filed for an inmate who has been on death row for over 35 years and has been appealing his sentence ever since.

Ralph Leroy Menzies was sentenced to death on Mar. 23, 1988, after he had been convicted of first-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping. His victim, Maurine Hunsaker, was working at a convenience store in Kearns when he kidnapped her and took her to Big Cottonwood Canyon. There he tied her to a tree, strangled her and slit her throat.

KSL Investigators explore change in Utah’s death row

Hunsaker’s family became frustrated after years of hearings and appeals that led nowhere legally and ultimately kept their mother’s killer alive. Criminal Appeals Director Thomas Brunker said at the time that the family was used to sitting in hearings with no resolution.

“Part of what it’s about is how long this has already taken,” Brunker said. “For the purposes of the state of Utah and the victim, it has been unnecessarily long.”

Judge dismisses lawsuit by 5 death row inmates, upholds Utah’s death penalty statute

Menzies was convicted before the 2004 law that outlawed execution by firing squad, meaning Menzies can opt to choose that method if his death warrant is signed. The last time an inmate was executed in Utah by firing squad was in 2010.

According to the Utah Department of Corrections, a hearing may need to be held for the signing of the death warrant before Menzies can be executed. The date for that possible hearing has not been announced.

Death penalty repeal fails in narrow vote after emotional, tearful debate

KSL 5 TV Live

Courts & Legal

Jodi Hildebrandt and Ruby Franke on an advertisement for the ConneXions program....

Shelby Lofton

Life coaching regulations under consideration following Hildebrandt case

A bill regulating life coaching programs in Utah is on hold to give the Utah Division of Professional Licensing more time to study the profession.

11 hours ago

CORRECTS SENTENCE TO UP TO 30 YEARS, NOT 60 YEARS - Defendant Ruby Franke looks on during court Tue...

Emily Ashcraft,

Ruby Franke’s parents, brother say Franke was brainwashed

Ruby Franke's parents asked a judge to show "as much mercy" as possible ahead of her sentencing this week for child abuse, saying their daughter had been brainwashed.

12 hours ago

The mug shots of Ruby Franke and Jodi Hildebrandt obtained by KSL on Feb. 21 2024. It's expected th...

Shelby Lofton

Long-term therapy expected for Ruby Franke, Jodi Hildebrandt’s young victims

After their mother, Ruby Franke, and previous counselor Jodi Hildebrandt were sentenced for aggravated child abuse, it's expected the Franke children will need long-term therapy to heal from the trauma they've endured.

1 day ago

metal container with slides frozen in the bottom...

Laura Ungar, Science Writer

How Alabama court ruling that frozen embryos are children could affect IVF

The Alabama Supreme Court recently ruled that frozen embryos can be considered children under state law. This is raising concerns about how the decision could affect in vitro fertilization, commonly known as IVF.

2 days ago


Gene Johnson, Associated Press

Seattle officer who struck and killed graduate student from India won’t face felony charges

Prosecutors in Washington state said Wednesday they will not file felony charges against a Seattle police officer who struck and killed a graduate student from India while responding to an overdose call.

2 days ago

In this screen grab from lapel camera video provided by the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office, movie...

Associated Press

Jury selection begins for trial of ‘Rust’ armorer in fatal 2021 shooting by Alec Baldwin

Prosecutors are pursuing accountability in the 2021 death of a cinematographer who was shot by actor Alec Baldwin during a rehearsal for the Western movie “Rust."

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Death warrant filed for Utah inmate; death by firing squad possible