U.S. Supreme Court Refuses To Hear Itawamba Capital Murder Appeal
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court won’t hear an appeal from a Mississippi death row inmate who pleaded guilty in the rape and killing of a waitress in 2000.
The justices on Monday let stand a lower court ruling that denied Thomas Loden Jr.’s request for a new court hearing to determine whether his lawyers gave him poor legal advice.
Loden argued that his original defense attorneys failed to fully investigate his mental condition and gave him bad advice that led him to plead guilty and waive jury sentencing.
A federal appeals court said Loden himself told his lawyers not to question prosecution witnesses or present evidence at a sentencing hearing to help him avoid the death penalty.
The American Bar Association had filed a brief urging the justices to take the case.
Loden was convicted in 2001 for the kidnapping, rape and murder of 16 year old Leesa Gray of Itawamba County. Gray was abducted as she left her job at the family owned restaurant where she worked.
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