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Texas Death Row Inmate's Appeal to State Court Rejected, Stay Lifted

April 18, 2002|Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas — A state court on Wednesday rejected an appeal filed by a man who was sentenced to death for a killing carried out when he was 17. The appeals court also lifted a stay of execution it had granted while reviewing the case.

Napoleon Beazley, who was four hours away from execution when he won the stay in August, was convicted of murdering 63-year-old John Luttig, a prominent Tyler businessman and the father of a federal judge.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals rejected all of the issues Beazley raised in challenging his conviction and sentence.

Beazley's attorney, Walter Long, said he would appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court and ask the state pardons board to commute Beazley's sentence.

The case drew international attention because of Beazley's age at the time of the April 19, 1994, slaying and because of J. Michael Luttig's position as a federal judge in Virginia. Beazley's trial judge, Cynthia Kent, and 18 state representatives had asked Gov. Rick Perry to commute his sentence to life in prison.

In Texas, the death penalty is applicable if the defendant was 17 or older at the time of the crime.

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