HOUSTON (AP) — The Latest on Texas Execution-Appeals (all times local):
A federal appeals court has rejected an appeal from a 60-year-old Texas inmate condemned for helping a former suburban Houston police officer murder his wife more than 22 years ago.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday refused arguments from lawyers for Joseph Andrew Prystash that raised questions about jury selection and juror instructions and the propriety of evidence.
He was convicted of being the middleman in a plot orchestrated by former Missouri City police officer Robert Fratta to murder his wife, 34-year-old Farah Fratta, during a custody battle. She was found shot dead in her garage in 1994.
Evidence showed Fratta hired Prystash who then hired triggerman Howard Paul Guidry. Prystash was to get Fratta’s Jeep and Guidry was to receive $3,000.
All three men are on death row.
Texas’ highest criminal court has refused an appeal from an East Texas woman on death row for the slaying seven years ago of her developmentally disabled baby sitter.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Wednesday rejected 15 claims raised by 50-year-old Kimberly Cargill, who was convicted in Smith County in 2012 of causing the asphyxiation of 39-year-old Cherry Walker. Most of the claims contended Cargill’s trial lawyers were deficient for not presenting evidence that Walker died of an epilepsy-related seizure rather than homicidal violence.
In a second case, the court has upheld the conviction and death sentence of 25-year-old Harlem Lewis III for the Christmas Eve 2012 slayings of a Houston-area police officer, Jimmy Norman, and a bystander, Terry Taylor, who were gunned down during a traffic stop struggle.
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