Brad Scott Compher and Nori Jones

Brad Scott Compher, 47, of Pocatello, left, is set to stand trial in Janauary 2023 for the murder of local woman Nori Jones inside her Pole Line Road apartment in 2004.

POCATELLO — A local man accused of murdering a 25-year-old Pocatello woman in 2004 will have his day in court almost two decades later.

It’s been nearly eight years since Pocatello police uncovered DNA evidence placing Brad Scott Compher, 47, of Pocatello, inside the Pole Line home where Nori Jones was found fatally stabbed on Sept. 28, 2004.

Compher is set to appear in front of 6th District Judge Javier Gabiola on Jan. 23, 2023, for the first day of a jury trial that Bannock County Prosecutor Steve Herzog said could last up to three weeks.

“We’re glad that a trial date has been set in this case and look forward to finally being able to resolve it,” Herzog said.

Compher was arrested and charged with felony first-degree murder for Jones’ death on Sept. 10, 2014, almost 10 years from the date of the alleged crime.

Compher has been waiting for a jury trial for over six years since the debate surrounding his level of competency first began, which earlier this year culminated in 6th District Judge Stephen Dunn declaring Compher was intellectually disabled to a degree that would make it cruel and unusual to punishment for him to face the death penalty. Dunn retired in 2020 but remained on the case to rule on the intellectual disability claim and then had the case reassigned to Gabiola.

The process first involved determining whether or not Compher was competent enough to understand the proceedings against him. In Idaho, there is not a defense for being clinically insane, instead courts must prove that a defendant is capable of criminal intent and that they can understand the charges against them and the court proceedings. A defendant will remain in the custody of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, in some cases at an Idaho Department of Correction Facility as was the case with Compher, until they are deemed competent enough to stand trial.

After Dunn declared Compher competent to stand trial in July 2019, the debate began surrounding the level of Compher’s competency and whether sentencing him to death would be a violation of his rights under the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Compher was ultimately declared intellectually disabled on April 20 after numerous motion hearings and requests for experts to testify on behalf of the Bannock County Prosecutor’s office and Compher’s court-appointed attorneys, John Scott Andrew of the Bannock County Public Defender’s Office and contracted attorney Gary Edward Proctor of Baltimore, who has an extensive background handling capital cases.

Though Compher will no longer face the death penalty if he is convicted of the felony first-degree murder charge, state statute requires that a special sentencing proceeding take place before any penalty is levied against him. During that special sentencing hearing, the same jury that ultimately convicts him will be tasked with determining if there are any aggravating circumstances surrounding the case.

If any of the aggravating circumstances outlined by state statue apply, including whether the “murder was especially heinous, atrocious or cruel,” Gabiola will impose a fixed life sentence against Compher without the possibility of parole.

If the jury finds no aggravating circumstances apply, Compher will face a term of life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after 10 years.