Murderer files new appeal | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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Murderer files new appeal

Sheila Gardner

GARDNERVILLE – Murderer Christopher Fiegehen, denied once in an effort to have his conviction overturned, filed a new motion this week in District Court alleging that he had ineffective counsel at his 2003 trial.

Among his grounds for post-conviction relief is a claim that his former attorney, Richard Young of Reno, should have pursued an “alternate theory” that Fiegehen killed his former girlfriend’s father in self-defense.

Fiegehen, 27, was convicted in July 2003, of murdering Alan Chorkey, 50, attempting to murder Lorelle Chorkey, burglary and home invasion, all using a deadly weapon. He pleaded not guilty and was convicted by a jury after a three-week trial.



He was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole and is incarcerated in Ely State Prison. Prosecutor Mark Jackson said Thursday he would file a response within 45 days allotted by law.

He declined to comment on Cornell’s motion.



In his request for post-conviction relief, Fiegehen’s lawyer, Richard Cornell of Reno, raised four issues:

— Testimony from victim Lorelle Chorkey should have been stricken because she had no memory of the accident, therefore her testimony was “tainted” by conversations she had with others following the Feb. 10, 2002, shooting at her Johnson Lane home.

— The Fiegehens have come into information since the trial that “strongly establishes” that Lorelle Chorkey was not permanently disabled. The fact that she wore dark glasses and walked with a cane during the trial raised “sympathy for the victim.”

“She should have appeared no different than any other witnesses before the jury,” Cornell wrote.

— Young should have pursued the “alternative theory” that Fiegehen acted in self-defense.

Fiegehen was convicted of shooting his way into the Chorkeys’ home, enraged over his breakup with Lorelle Chorkey’s daughter Alane Dockstader.

Fiegehen stabbed Alan Chorkey to death and shot Lorelle Chorkey twice, leaving her for dead.

According to the “alternative theory,” Fiegehen entered the house in the early morning hours because he was distraught over the breakup and desperate to see Dockstader, not with the intent to kill.

Alan Chorkey, surprised by Fiegehen, wrestled the .357 from him and Chorkey fired several gunshots. That accounts for splayed bullets around the house, some of which accidentally hit his wife.

As Alan Chorkey tried to reload the gun, Fiegehen stabbed him to death because he was in a “kill or be killed situation,” Cornell said.

That argument was rejected by the Nevada Supreme Court a year ago.

Prosecutor Mark Jackson said Thursday he would file a response within 45 days allotted by law.

He declined to comment on Cornell’s motion.


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