A new sentencing hearing has been ordered for Galareka Harrison, who was sentenced to natural life in prison after stabbing her University of Arizona dorm mate to death in September of 2007. Now-retired Judge Nanette Warner, who gave the sentence, said she would have given Harrison a shot at parole if there had been evidence of a significant mental problem or of having been abused as a child. Judge Warner left Miller & Pitt, P.C. (now Haralson, Miller, Pitt, Feldman & McAnally P.L.C.) in 1986 when she was appointed to the Superior Court Bench, where she is credited with the creation and implementation of the Mental Health Court for the Superior Court.
Harrison’s new attorney, Alex Heveri, is arguing that there is evidence of both abuse and mental problems. According to her, Harrison’s attorneys did a poor job during both the trial and sentencing hearing, misrepresenting Harrison’s home life, and failing to fully investigate her UA and medical records. During trial Harrison’s family life was primarily depicted as loving and supportive. There was, however, history of abuse from her father. Additionally, Harrison was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder in 2005 after her mother stabbed herself during a domestic dispute.
On Thursday, August 9, 2012, Judge Scott Rash ruled that Heveri should be allowed to present her evidence at a new sentencing hearing, the date of which has not yet been scheduled.