Burns, Rafay wait to see if triple-murder conviction will be reviewed
Sebastian Burns and Atif Rafay will have to wait another month to learn if their failed bid to overturn their triple-murder conviction will be reviewed by the Washington State Supreme Court.
The pair's petition for review was heard by a panel of five judges on Feb. 5 but they didn't reach a unanimous decision. In cases where there's a less-than-unanimous vote — either in favour of granting a review or denying it — the petition is then considered by the entire court, which consists of nine justices.
For Burns and Rafay to have their case considered, a majority vote in favour of granting a review is required. That decision is scheduled to be made on March 7.
In 2004, the two West Vancouver men were found guilty of bludgeoning to death Rafay's parents and autistic sister inside their suburban Seattle home in the summer of 1994.
Both 28 at the time of the conviction, they each received 99-year life sentences without the possibility of parole.
For the past 18 years they have steadfastly maintained their innocence.
Last July, seven years after their convictions, they finally got a chance to argue for a new trial in the Washington State Court of Appeals. The pair's legal team raised a number of issues during the appeal, most notably the controversial tactics used during the RCMP's undercover sting operation, known as Mr. Big, to gather evidence.
The appeal was denied by a panel of three judges.