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Court rejects death sentence appeal for man convicted in Houston slayings

Court rejects death sentence appeal for man convicted in Houston slayings

by MICHAEL GRACZYK / Associated Press

khou.com

Posted on November 20, 2013 at 11:12 AM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 20 at 11:12 AM

HOUSTON -- 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.

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