Supreme Court lifts Texas execution hold

June 1, 2011 at 2:50 PM
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FORT WORTH, Texas, June 1 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court has denied an appeal by a Texas death-row inmate, clearing the way for a Texas judge to set a date for his execution.

The court denied a request from convicted killer Cleve Foster to rehear his case based on his claims he had poor post-conviction legal help, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Tuesday.

Foster had faced two previous execution dates but was granted stays while the high court reviewed his appeals, ultimately turning them down in both cases.

Tuesday's decision lifted the hold on his execution so state District Judge Sharen Wilson, who presided over Foster's 2004 capital murder trial in Tarrant County, will set a new date.

"I am pleased with this morning's Supreme Court decision," Tarrant County Assistant District Attorney Steve Conder said. "I anticipate that the trial court will set a new execution date in the near future."

Foster, 47, a former Army recruiter, and his roommate Sheldon Ward were convicted of capital murder for the 2002 rape and killing of Nyaneur "Mary" Pal, 28, in Fort Worth.

Ward, 30, died of a brain tumor on death row in 2010.

Foster's attorney Maurie Levin, a professor at the University of Texas School of Law, said she and Foster's supporters would consider their next step.

"There is no doubt that we will continue litigating on behalf of Mr. Foster and identifying the best way to fight the ample injustices in his case," she said.

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