Execution Appeal

HOUSTON (AP) - A man from Honduras on Texas death row for the rape-slaying of a 15-year-old girl in Houston has lost a federal court appeal, moving him closer to execution.

Edgardo Rafael Cubas had argued to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals the trial judge in his case, Jan Crocker, was biased against him because she had prosecuted an unrelated capital murder case years earlier as an assistant district attorney in Harris County. Lawyers for Cubas contended Crocker was impartial because at the time of his trial in 2004, she sought to file an affidavit in the unrelated capital case to keep that inmate on death row.

The 5th Circuit on Friday rejected the claim.

The 33-year-old Cubas was condemned for the 2002 slaying of high school sophomore Esmeralda Alvarado.

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