Lorelle Chorkey’s civil suit against Christopher Fiegehen is on hold.
The recovering Johnson Lane resident is forced to await a resolution for financial compensation for her charges of pain and suffering against Fiegehen until his appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court is resolved.
Fiegehen, a Carson City resident, was sentenced by Judge David Gamble on Aug. 22, 2003, in Ninth Judicial District Court to two life sentences without parole for the murder in the first degree of Lorelle’s husband, Al, on Feb. 10, 2002, at their Becky Lane home.
In addition, Fiegehen received two consecutive sentences of eight to 20 years for the attempted murder with a deadly weapon of Lorelle, and two consecutive sentences of six to 15 years in prison for home invasion.
In the civil suit, filed in February, Lorelle seeks amounts in excess of $10,000 for each of three charges: a wrongful death claim for the pain, suffering and disfigurement of Al, who bled to death; a negligence claim for the mental, physical and nervous pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages, and physical injury to Lorelle; and a battery claim for willful and unlawful use of force of violence with use of a deadly weapon on Lorelle, who was shot in the head and in the chest.
Ten thousand dollars is the minimum compensation claim needed for a civil suit to be filed in district court. Lorelle’s civil suit attorney, Kenneth Lyon of Reno, has said previously that he would expect damages paid to be “well above” $10,000 in resolution to his client’s claims.
That amount will not be declared until the Nevada Supreme Court reviews Fiegehen’s appeal, which was filed with an opening brief by attorney Richard Cornell of Reno in January 2004.
The respondent in Fiegehen v. State of Nevada is Douglas County Deputy District Attorney Mark Jackson, who filed a response in March 9 to Cornell’s opening.
Jackson argued that the jury’s verdict on the murder charge “should not be void as a matter of law” and that the district court judge should be able to examine the charges and facts in a case to determine whether the jury needs to be instructed on different degrees of murder.
He also says that the evidence in the case is sufficient to support a conviction of felony home invasion and that a felony murder conviction based on a home invasion charge should be upheld.
Cornell argues that the home invasion charge should be dismissed without prejudice, meaning that it should be thrown out and not be pursuable again. He claims the evidence proving home invasion is insufficient and asks for a reversal in the case and a new trial.
Cornell also claims that juries must be directed to decide on the degree of murder. In Fiegehen’s case, he said, the jury was told that to find Fiegehen guilty of the first-degree murder charge brought by the DA’s office, he must also be found guilty of felony home invasion, which means he entered the home with the intent of committing a felony crime. Such direction, Cornell argues, precluded the jury from reaching a verdict with a degree of murder from any other than first-degree.
A reply from the appellant, in this case Fiegehen’s attorney Cornell, is expected this month.
The Nevada Supreme Court will ultimately decide if Fiegehen’s case was handled appropriately and, if so, uphold the trial verdict. If the upper court concludes that the case was legally questionable, Fiegehen could have a re-trial.
Maggie O’Neill can be reached at mo’email@example.com or (775) 782-5121, ext. 214.