Convicted Houston killer loses appeal

September 28, 2009 10:10:54 AM PDT
A former Houston mechanic condemned for gunning down his ex-girlfriend and her male friend more than 14 years ago has lost an appeal of his sentence, moving him closer to execution.The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a ruling late Friday, rejected arguments from 46-year-old Duane Buck that a prosecutor's reference to his black race during questioning of a witness was a violation of his constitutional rights.

A Harris County jury in 1997 took only 17 minutes to convict Buck of the fatal shootings of Debra Gardner and Kenneth Butler, then decided he should be put to death.

At the time of the July 1995 shootings, Buck was on parole after a conviction for delivery of cocaine.

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