Texas, Arizona Lose Death Penalty Appeals in High Court's Last Rulings

Texas and Arizona lost Supreme Court appeals on Friday in separate death penalty cases.

Justices refused without comment to consider reinstating the death sentence of Gregory Russeau in the murder of an elderly auto mechanic during a robbery in Texas.

They also refused to overturn an appeals court decision that gave Robert Moormann a chance to pursue an appeal for his conviction in the death of his adoptive mother in Arizona.

The cases were among more than 50 that were acted on by the court on Friday, a day after justices were on the bench for the last time. Justices return to the bench in October.

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A Texas court had said that Russeau's Sixth Amendment right to confront witnesses against him had been violated during the penalty phase of his trial. He was convicted in the 2001 death of 75-year-old James Syvertson.

Moormann was on a prison furlough when he was accused of killing his 74-year-old adoptive mother at a motel close to the prison, cutting her body into pieces and putting it in several trash bins. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had said a lower court should consider Moormann's claims of poor lawyering.

The cases are Texas v. Russeau, 05-856, and Schriro v. Moormann, 05-1180.