EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - The Court of Criminal Appeals has ordered a review in the case of a Longview man serving 99 years in prison for the murder of his estranged wife in a Marshall hotel room.
Brad Allen Dunn is serving 99 years in prison after pleading guilty to the 2013 stabbing death of his estranged wife, Kari Hunt. The case made national headlines after their young daughter tried calling 911 for help from inside the room, but the call did not connect because the phone system required a "9" to be dialed first, to access an outside line.
Legislation known as "Kari's Law" was recently passed in the U.S. House and Senate, with a bi-partisan committee currently dovetailing the two bills into one before it is sent to the White House for President Donald Trump's signature and approval.
On Dec. 1, the 4-year anniversary of Kari Hunt's death, Dunn filed an application for a writ of habeas corpus with the Court of Criminal Appeals. In layman's terms, this means Dunn is requesting the right to appear in court and have his detention reviewed to see if it is lawful.
On Dec. 20, that court issued an opinion putting Dunn's application on a 90-day hold, and ordered the 7th District Court in Harrison County to investigate the claims mentioned in the writ.
The inmate must give reasons why they believe the hearing should be held, and Dunn lists several, including ineffective counsel, lack of expert testimony, lack of witnesses called to testify about Dunn's "good character and his mental state at the time of the offense," and failure to show as evidence a video interview with their young daughter.
"In these circumstances, additional facts are needed," the written order states. The appeals court ruled that if these allegations are found true, Dunn might be entitled to "relief."
"The trial court shall make findings of face and conclusions of law as to whether the performance of the Applicant's trial counsel was deficient and, if so, whether counsel's deficient performance prejudiced Applicant," the order states.
The trial court has 120 days to file the requested court transcripts, plea documents, and other paperwork with the Court of Criminal Appeals. After that, a decision will be made to approve the application and schedule a hearing, or decline the petition.