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U.S. court won't call a halt to execution

Published December 12, 2006


A federal appeals court has refused to stop Wednesday's execution of the convicted killer of a Miami topless club manager.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta on Monday denied the motions of Angel Nieves Diaz, 55, for a stay of execution and a request to file another appeal.

According to his state-paid attorney, Suzanne Myers Keffer, Nieves still had appeals pending with the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Atlanta court turned down Nieves' claim of newly discovered evidence, on whether Nieves or an accomplice, Angel Toro, fatally shot Joseph Nagy while robbing the Velvet Swing in Miami in 1979. Toro received life in prison for second-degree murder in a plea deal.

Nieves submitted a sworn statement from a jailhouse informer, Ralph Gajus, saying he lied when he told a jury that Nieves admitted to him that he was the shooter.

"Because it does not present any new testimony, the affidavit given by Gajus is not newly discovered evidence," the appeals court ruled.

Appeals filed with the U.S. Supreme Court challenged Florida's method of lethal injection. Similar arguments were made this year by three other death row inmates, all of whom lost their appeals and were executed.

Nieves was convicted of first-degree murder and other charges for the holdup at the bar. His record includes a second-degree murder conviction in his native Puerto Rico and escapes there and in Connecticut.

[Last modified December 12, 2006, 01:08:39]

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