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Texas death row inmate executed after Supreme Court rejects plea for stay

By Danielle Haynes
Texas death row inmate executed after Supreme Court rejects plea for stay
TaiChin Preyor is seeking a stay of execution, saying his lawyer was unfit to serve as counsel in his original trial because she relied on Wikipedia to research the law in Texas. File Photo courtesy the Texas Department of Criminal Justice

July 27 (UPI) -- A Texas man was executed Thursday night after asking for a last-minute stay on grounds that his former lawyer relied on Wikipedia for research on his case.

TaiChin Preyor, 46, was killed by lethal injection in Huntsville, Texas after the Supreme Court rejected his plea for a stay in his death sentence.

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A Bexar County jury in 2005 found him guilty of capital murder for the death of 24-year-old Jami Tackett. Preyor slashed Tackett's throat and injured Jason Garza in a drug-related attack at an apartment in San Antonio in 2004.

Preyor said he stabbed Tackett out of self defense because she attacked him when he went to her apartment to buy drugs.

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Earlier this week, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles voted against stopping his execution. On Thursday, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied his bid, but his legal team plans to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Preyor's lawyers said his former lawyer worked with a disbarred lawyer on his case and used Wikipedia for research. They also accuse the former lawyer of double billing Preyor's family and the court.

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The California attorney who specialized in real estate, had never tried a case in Texas.

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"It appears she relied on Wikpedia, of all things, to learn the complex ins and outs of Texas capital-punishment law," a motion by Preyor's current lawyers reads.

"Her files included a copy of the Wikipedia page titled, 'Capital punishment in Texas,' with a post-it note stating 'Research' next to highlighted passages of 'habeas corpus appeals' and 'subsequent or successive writ applications.'"

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