The Faccios and Elliot had been eating a quiet dinner and watching the evening news at the couple’s East Anchorage house on April 22, 1985 when Fletcher and 19-year-old Cordell Boyd shot the two sisters and then the man as they prayed and begged for their lives.
Fletcher pled guilty and was tried in adult court, making her the then youngest convicted murder in Alaska’s history.
Now, her attorney Beth Trimmer of the Office of Public Advocacy says “powerful” new juvenile brain development research, coupled with the fact that there’s evidence Boyd may have offered perjured testimony during the original proceedings, mean that Fletcher should never have been tried – and sentenced – in adult court.
Fletcher herself did not appear in court on Thursday.
The State of Alaska’s attorney argued that Fletcher’s innocence was not in question and that the new research on adolescents’ brains probably wouldn’t have changed the psychologists’ recommendations for her sentencing and rehabilitation.
The murders also became the catalyst for major changes to crime victims’ rights in Alaska.
Tom and Ann Faccio’s daughters Janice Lienhart and Sharon Nahorney, upset by the way family members were treated during the original criminal proceedings, founded Victims for Justice, a nonprofit dedicated to helping families navigate the justice system. Their plight spurred major changes, including the amendment of a victims’ “bill of rights” to the Alaska state constitution.
The court of appeals is not expected to issue an opinion on the matter for several months.