'Boys Don't Cry' John Lotter Asks Supreme Court to Review Case

By Dyanna Quizon, Esq. on February 03, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Nebraska death row inmate John Lotter, one of the infamous inspirations to the 1999 Oscar-winning movie "Boys Don't Cry," is seeking review of his case from the nation's highest court.

Lotter was sentenced to death for his role in murdering Teena Brandon, Lisa Lambert and Philip DeVine in Humboldt in 1993. Brandon was a 21-year-old woman who lived briefly as a man, while the two other victims were witnesses to the killing. Their deaths brought outrage against the convicted killers and Richardson County authorities for their role in the case. Days before his murder, Brandon had reported being raped by Lotter and co-defendant Thomas Nissen.

Lotter was later betrayed by Nissen, who made a deal with prosecutors to avoid the death penalty by testifying that Lotter had fired the death bullets into all three victims. However, Nissen reportedly recanted in 2007 and said it was he who shot them, according to the Lincoln Journal Star.

Lotter appealed his conviction, claiming - among other things - that Nissen was threatened with torture to coerce him into placing the blame on Lotter. However, his appeal was rejected by the Nebraska Supreme Court, the U.S. District Court of Nebraska, and finally the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in August.

Although the three-judge panel was split in its decision, the Eighth Circuit also refused a hearing by the full court in October.

In his dissent, U.S. Judge Kermit Bye stated he would have allowed Lotter's appeal based on several of Lotter's claims, including prosecutor misrepresentation.

Lotter is one of 11 men currently on Nebraska's death row. He has been on death row since Feb. 21, 1996.

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