Robert Farmer, 56, died of natural causes Tuesday night.
Corrections spokesman Steve Suwe said Farmer was transferred from Ely State Prison to High Desert State Prison in southern Nevada on April 18. He was taken that same day to Valley Hospital in Las Vegas, where he died a week later.
Farmer was arrested in Florida in 1982 and returned to Nevada to face separate charges in Reno and Las Vegas. According to court records, he was convicted in Washoe County that same year of armed robbery and first-degree kidnapping. In 1983, he was convicted of first-degree murder for the death of Thomas Kane, and possession of stolen property. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
In March 1984, Farmer pleaded guilty in Clark County to first-degree murder for the death of Las Vegas taxicab driver Greg Gelunas, and he was sentenced to death by a three-judge panel.
But the Nevada Supreme Court vacated his death sentence in 2007, citing an earlier court decision that said prosecutors cannot use the same element of a felony murder crime as an aggravating circumstance to justify a death penalty.
Prosecutors then sought a new penalty phase hearing to re-impose Farmer’s death sentence.
Farmer appealed, claiming a new hearing based on the same aggravating circumstances was unconstitutional because it would amount to double jeopardy.
In February, a panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco rejected those arguments, ruling that “the state constitutionally may attempt once against to impose the death penalty, if it decides that justice so requires.”
A new hearing to impose the death penalty was not held before he died.