Man convicted of Idaho killings set to be released

LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) - One of two brothers convicted of killing a Texas couple in northern Idaho 30 years ago and sentenced to life in prison has been given a release date.

The Lewiston Tribune reported that the Idaho Commission on Pardons and Parole on Friday set Oct. 24, 2018, as the release date for 55-year-old Bryan S. Lankford.

Lankford and his older brother, Mark Lankford, were convicted of the 1983 beating deaths of U.S. Marine Capt. Robert Bravence, 27, and his wife, Cheryl Bravence, 25, of El Paso, Texas. Mark Lankford is serving life in prison without the possibility of parole.

After the killings, the brothers hid the bodies in the Idaho wilderness and took the couple's vehicle, money and credit cards on a trip to California. The bodies were discovered three months later, and the brothers were apprehended when they returned to their home state of Texas.

Parole board Executive Director Olivia Craven said the board will eventually release more details about its decision but first has to clear up some other matters related to the case.

The brothers were both convicted in 1984 of the murders of the couple that were camping in the northern Idaho wilderness. Both were sentenced to death, according to the Idaho attorney general, who later became involved due to appeals in the brothers' cases. Each brother has blamed the other for the crime. Following appeals, Bryan Lankford's sentence was reduced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

In 2000, the parole board ordered Bryan Lankford to spend at least 15 more years in prison. The board cited a robbery conviction in Texas and threats Lankford made against prison guards and fellow inmates.

Mark Lankford, who spent more than two decades on death row, was granted a new trial in 2007 after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled he must be retried or released because of a jury instruction error from the 1984 trial.

In the new trial in 2008, an Idaho County jury convicted Mark Lankford of two counts of first-degree murder, and he was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences without possibility of parole.

He's currently seeking a third trial, contending new evidence has been uncovered. He contends Bryan confessed to the murders and asked him to help hide the bodies.