And the 5th flushes another turd...Federal appeals court refuses to halt Texas execution
HUNTSVILLE, Texas -- A federal appeals court has refused to block the scheduled execution of a Texas prisoner who killed a San Antonio woman more than 13 years ago.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected an appeal from lawyers for 46-year-old TaiChin Preyor. The attorneys contend he received deficient legal help during earlier stages of his appeals and he deserves a reprieve so his appeals can be reviewed more fairly.
His lawyers say they'll now take their appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Preyor would be the fifth Texas inmate put to death this year and the 16th nationally if his lethal injection is carried out Thursday evening.
He was convicted of breaking into the San Antonio apartment of 24-year-old Jami Tackett in February 2004 and fatally slashing her. Court documents show she was his drug supplier.
Preyor's lawyers argued an inexperienced California attorney who handled federal appeals in his case from 2011 to 2014 was "utterly unqualified." They said she employed a disbarred lawyer for guidance, perpetrating a fraud on the courts.
The appeals court should "pause the process to ensure that Preyor is not executed without receiving a full and fair opportunity to present his claims," attorney Catherine Stetson told the 5th Circuit. "Preyor is not seeking absolution or commutation; he is seeking a chance to make the best case that he can."
State attorneys said the late appeals to reopen his case were legally improper and that it was Preyor's decision to stay with the inexperienced lawyer who didn't appear to miss any filing deadlines and filed appropriate pleadings.
"Preyor may not be pleased with the outcome or might wish that different claims had been raised, but that does not warrant extraordinary relief," Assistant Attorney General Erich Dryden told the court.
The disbarred lawyer wasn't precluded from assisting Preyor's attorney, state lawyers said.
Testimony showed that in the early hours of Feb. 26, 2004, Preyor, dressed in black and wearing a hood and gloves, kicked in the door of a San Antonio apartment where Tackett lived and kept drugs in a safe.
Tackett recognized Preyor when he barged into a bedroom, calling him by his nickname "Box." He attacked her boyfriend, who escaped to a neighbor's apartment and called for help. Evidence showed Preyor, also a drug seller and user since adolescence, then stabbed Tackett and cut her throat.
Tackett died before paramedics arrived but was able to tell police "the guy who ran from the apartment did this," John Economidy, Preyor's lead defense attorney, recalled this week.
"He is caught at the scene, and the dying declaration did not help us a whole lot," Economidy said.
Preyor, in the second of two statements to San Antonio police, said Tackett and her boyfriend attacked him and that he "poked" at Tackett with a knife to protect himself.
"I felt like I was a victim," he said. "I was the one being robbed, and I defended myself."
He fled the apartment but returned because he lost his car keys in the struggle. By the time he tried to flee a second time, police had arrived and used pepper spray to subdue him. He was covered with the blood of his victims.
At least six other Texas prisoners are scheduled to be executed in the next several months.www.cbsnews.comMan these ambulance chasers will try anything at the last hour.