PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – The Supreme Court won’t stop the federal government from claiming a Rhode Island inmate who will face the possibility of the death penalty if convicted of murder.

The high court on Monday refused to hear an appeal from Jason Pleau and the state of Rhode Island. Pleau is charged with killing a Woonsocket, R.I., gas station manager in 2010. He’s currently awaiting trial in federal court.

Pleau initially had been in state custody. After federal prosecutors charged him, Gov. Lincoln Chafee refused to turn over Pleau, citing the state’s rejection of the death penalty.

But an appeals court has ruled the state must surrender Pleau to federal officials, despite the state’s insistence that the federal government is violating a legal agreement that authorizes the state to deny a request to transfer a prisoner.

U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha said he was pleased by the decision and that his office was prepared to move ahead with the case immediately.

Pleau’s lawyer did not immediately return phone messages seeking comment.