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The Supreme Court accepted an appeal Tuesday from Arizona, which wants to execute a twice-convicted killer who says his lawyer didn’t do enough to ward off a death sentence. Justices said they would review a decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which said a lower court should consider Jeffrey Landrigan’s claims that his lawyer was ineffective. Landrigan escaped from an Oklahoma prison in 1989, where he was serving a 20-year term for murdering an acquaintance. A month later, he killed Chester Dyer, who picked up men on the Phoenix streets by flashing large sums of money. As Landrigan and the man were drinking beer in the victim’s Phoenix apartment, Landrigan strangled Dyer with an electrical cord and repeatedly punctured him with a screwdriver. He was convicted of killing Dyer and sentenced to death. Dale Baich, who represents Landrigan in his appeals, said his client might have won a life term instead of a death sentence if his trial lawyer had submitted evidence that he was predisposed to violence and suffered brain damage that made him unable to appreciate his crimes. Landrigan’s father, Darrel Wayne Hill, had been on death row in Arkansas until he died of natural causes last year. Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard said Landrigan told the trial judge he did not want his lawyer to introduce evidence that would have mitigated against a sentence of death. The Arizona Supreme Court, a federal district judge and a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit all rejected Landrigan’s claims before the full appellate decided otherwise in March. The case is Schriro v. Landrigan, 05-1575. Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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