TEXARKANA, Ark. (AP) - The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has turned down a request from the state for a new appeal hearing over claims by an inmate from Miller County who is awaiting execution.
Andrew Sasser was convicted of the 1993 killing and rape of EZ Mart clerk Jo Ann Kennedy. Last year, the 8th Circuit agreed that he should get a hearing to determine whether he can raise issues on appeal that his prior lawyers should have addressed. On Wednesday, the 8th Circuit denied a petition from the state to hold a new hearing on the matter.
The U.S. district court hearing, which hasn't been scheduled yet, will determine whether Sasser can argue that he is mentally retarded and thus not eligible for execution. He also claims he had ineffective counsel.
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