East Texas man on death row loses federal appeal

FILE - In this May 27, 2008 file photo, the gurney in Huntsville, Texas, where Texas' condemned are strapped down to receive a lethal dose of drugs. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan, File)

HOUSTON (AP) — A 48-year-old East Texas man on death row for the 2002 slaying of his 2-year-old daughter has lost a federal court appeal, moving him a step closer to execution.

August 10 the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected arguments that the rights of Robert Roberson III were violated. Roberson’s trial judge in Palestine refused to allow a neurologist during the guilt-innocence portion of the trial to testify about organic brain syndrome and poor impulse control.

Roberson was convicted of the death of his daughter, Nikki Curtis, at their Palestine home. His attorneys contended the physician would have said Roberson didn’t deliberately kill the child, a key element in his defense.

Lawyers said the child likely was fatally shaken or dropped.

Roberson does not yet have an execution date.

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