HOUSTON (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court says a federal appeals court incorrectly denied money a Honduran man on Texas death row wants to investigate arguments that his lawyers were deficient when they provided little evidence during the punishment phase of his trial where jurors decided he should be executed for a 1995 Houston slaying.
The high court returned the case of 48-year-old Carlos Ayestas to the lower federal courts. Justices said Wednesday the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals applied the wrong standard when it upheld a lower court ruling denying money for a specialist to examine his claims of mental illness and drug addiction. Attorneys are seeking a new punishment trial.
A jury in 1997 convicted Ayestas of killing 67-year-old Santiaga Pareque during a robbery at her home.