HOUSTON (AP) - A divided Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has rejected an appeal from a convicted killer in a Houston case where supporters contend his death sentence unfairly was based on race.
The state's highest criminal court Wednesday refused an appeal from 50-year-old condemned inmate Duane Buck. Buck was convicted of the slaying of his ex-girlfriend and a man at her Houston apartment in July 1995.
During the punishment phase of his 1997 trial, a psychologist testifying for the defense said black people were more likely to commit violence. Advocates for Buck, who is black, say that unfairly influenced the jury, is grounds for a new sentencing hearing and should have been pursued vigorously by lawyers early in the appeals process.
Three of the nine appeals court judges joined in a dissent.