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HUNTSVILLE, Texas Attorneys for a Texas prisoner sentenced to die for the slaying of a retired sheriff s deputy during a holdup a decade ago in South Texas are trying to halt his imminent punishment.

Convicted killer John Quintanilla faces lethal injection Tuesday evening in Huntsville. A federal appeals court has refused to halt the lethal injection and his lawyers late Monday took their appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Quintanilla contends his confession to the fatal shooting of 60-year-old Victor Billings in 2002 was coerced and improper. Billings was shot when he grabbed the rifle of one of two masked gunmen who walked into an amusement center in Victoria and announced a holdup.

Quintanilla s execution would be the ninth this year in Texas and first of two set for this week.

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