Pima County Superior Court Judge Scott Rash imposed a stay in the Galareka Harrison case Thursday after prosecutors announced they will be asking the Arizona Court of Appeals to overturn his decision to grant Harrison a new sentencing hearing.
Harrison, 23, was sentenced to a no-parole life term after being convicted of first-degree murder in the September 2007 death of her University of Arizona dorm mate Mia Henderson, 18.
Prosecutors said Harrison stabbed Henderson 23 times because Henderson told university police she had found her UA CatCard and Social Security card in Harrison's wallet, and that $500 was missing from her checking account. A CatCard is a combination identification and campus charge card.
Harrison’s appellate attorney, Alex Heveri, asked Rash to grant Harrison a new trial or a new sentencing hearing, arguing her original attorneys were ineffective.
Last week, Rash said Harrison’s original defense team should have given Harrison's medical records to the psychiatrist it hired.
Had he received them, Rash said, the defense could have “presented some evidence that the defendant’s family life was something other than loving, supportive and without abuse.”
Whether the evidence will result in Harrison receiving a life sentence with parole eligibility remains to be seen, but Harrison ought to be able to present it, Rash said.