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A divided federal appeals court panel upheld the murder convictions and death sentence Tuesday of a 54-year-old man who went on a multistate crime spree in 2003.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1 to affirm the death sentence of Scott Eizember, who received the punishment after his first-degree murder conviction in the Oct. 18, 2003, bludgeoning death of A.J. Cantrell, 76. Eizember was also found guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting of Patsy Cantrell, 70, for which he received 150 years in prison, as well as a variety of other charges.    

On appeal, Eizember alleged that the trial court allowed two jurors who he alleged were "impermissibly biased in favor of the death penalty," thus "depriving him of trial by an impartial jury and due process in violation of the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments."

The court agreed with the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals and a federal district judge in rejecting Eizember's claims.

Eizember was the focus of an intense manhunt following the shootings in rural Depew but eluded authorities for 37 days. He was discovered that November by a 75-year-old volunteer at a church, but then stole the volunteer's vehicle, which he abandoned near Waldron, Arkansas.

He was captured later that day outside Lufkin, Texas, after kidnapping an Arkansas physician and his wife, holding them at gunpoint for six hours and forcing them to drive. The physician eventually shot Eizember four times. Eizember was convicted of kidnapping, carjacking and using a firearm in a crime of violence in Arkansas and was sentenced 25 years in federal prison.

In a 30-page dissenting opinion, Chief Judge Mary Beck Briscoe wrote that she would affirm Eizember's convictions "but reverse his death sentence and remand for resentencing before a fair and impartial jury."

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