Robert Davidson

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Death Row Inmate Seeks New Trial

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) – Death row inmate Thomas Edwin Loden Jr. has asked a federal judge to hear his appeal.

The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports (http://bit.ly/WAYccx) that Loden contends in court documents filed in federal court in Oxford that his defense attorney allegedly failed to fully investigate Loden’s mental condition. Loden also claims poor advice from his lawyer led him to plead guilty and waive jury sentencing.

Loden pleaded guilty in 2001 in the murder of teenager Leesa Gray. Loden was sentenced to death plus 30 years on kidnapping and rape counts.

Gray disappeared June 22, 2000, while on her way home from work as a waitress at her family’s restaurant in the Dorsey community. According to court documents, her body was found dead the next day in Loden’s van.