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Court rejects appeal of convicted Oklahoma killer

Oklahoman Published: January 14, 2013
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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A federal appeals court on Monday rejected the appeal of a man sentenced to death for killing two Oklahoma City women more than 25 years ago.

The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver rejected claims by Ronald Lott, 53, who was convicted in December 2001 of raping and killing Anna Laura Fowler, 83, in September 1986 and Zelma Cutler, 93, in January 1987. His trial was delayed several times.

Lott was sentenced to death in January 2002 for both murder convictions.

Lott's attorney did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

The appeals court rejected several arguments by Lott, including ineffective counsel during the sentencing phase of the trial, prosecutorial misconduct, insufficient evidence, erroneous jury instructions and violation of his right to a speedy trial.

The court did agree with Lott's contention that the victim impact testimony by the granddaughter of one victim, who testified that she believed Lott should be put to death, should not have been allowed. But the court found that because of “overwhelming evidence of Lott's gift” the testimony “did not have a substantial and injurious effect” on the jury's decision to impose the death sentence.

The evidence against Lott included DNA taken from the victims that was matched to Lott.

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