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Texas appeals court stop scheduled execution

  Court Watch  -   POSTED: 2008/09/11 15:25

Attorneys for a killer who had been scheduled to die Wednesday say he should get a new trial because his trial judge and the prosecutor admitted having a secret sexual relationship that began years before his murder convictions.

Charles Dean Hood won a reprieve Tuesday, but not because of the alleged affair.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals said it will reconsider its previous dismissal of an appeal by Hood that challenged jury instructions. The court said developments in the law regarding jury nullification instructions made reconsidering its ruling prudent.

At the same time, the court dismissed claims by Hood's attorneys that he was denied a fair trial because of the alleged relationship between retired Judge Verla Sue Holland and former Collin County District Attorney Tom O'Connell. O'Connell and Holland gave depositions under a court order Hood's attorneys won on Monday.

The reprieve came around the time Hood's lawyers sent Gov. Rick Perry a letter saying that Holland and O'Connell "admitted under oath that they had an intimate sexual relationship for many years."

Attorneys for Holland and O'Connell said they were under court order not to discuss their clients' testimony.

"The intimate sexual relationship between the judge and the district attorney began several years prior to the trial of Mr. Hood," lawyer Greg Wiercioch said in his letter to the governor re-emphasizing his earlier petition for a 30-day reprieve.


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