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Court declines appeal for Ariz. death row inmate

PHOENIX -- A federal appeals court has declined to have a larger panel of judges consider an Arizona death-row inmate's appeal already turned down under a split ruling by a three-judge panel.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said its judges voted Wednesday against the rehearing request submitted on behalf of Richard Dale Stokley.

The 60-year-old Stokley is scheduled to be executed Dec. 5 for the murders of two teenage girls in rural Cochise County two decades ago.

Stokley's current lawyers argued that he's entitled to new proceedings on his claim that a previous attorney effectively abandoned him by not representing his interests early in the appeals process.

The appeals court on Nov. 15 denied Stokley's request for a hearing with a 2-1 ruling.

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