Man on Texas death row 3 decades loses appeal

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SHERMAN: An Arlington man convicted in the deaths of four men in Sherman in 1984, has been serving on death row for three decades. Wednesday, his appeal was denied by the highest criminal court in Texas.

Now 66 -year-old Lester Bower is one of the longest serving death row inmates in Texas. He was convicted in the execution-style shooting deaths of four people in an airplane hangar in Sherman, in 1984.

Wednesday we learned after three decades, numerous appeals, and further testing of DNA evidence, Bower now faces execution.

"These family members of the victims that were killed have been waiting 30 years. And they've been very patient, and the justice system has bent over backwards to make sure all these issues have been looked at," said Grayson County District Attorney Joe Brown.

Wednesday, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied Bower's latest appeal, after a Grayson County judge said the 1984 jury had no way to consider all the evidence in a case prosecutors built around Bower's purchase of an ultralight airplane from one of the victims.

"This case has been heard for 30 years by multiple judges--the state court level--the federal court level--the state court level again, these same issues have been raised over and over. The time for Mr. Bower's appeals is over," said Brown.

Brown says in 2008 Bower's defense team requested additional DNA testing, claiming actual innocence, and saying somebody else killed the four victims. But prosecutors found contradictions in witness testimony.

Brown also says the defense wanted unidentified hair and cigarette butts, collected from the scene, tested for DNA.

"Technology advanced over the years, new requests were made for additional testing, and all of that's been tested and either came back to the victims or Mr. Bower," said Brown.

Brown says he expects Bower's execution date will be set by the end of the year.

Our attempts to contact Bower's attorney for comment were unsuccessful.