Ala. Court Gives New Hearing to Condemned Man

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - A state appeals court has granted a
death row inmate's bid for a hearing on claims of juror misconduct in his conviction in the murder of an elderly Houston County widow.

But the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals rejected other pleas by Rex Allen Beckworth, sentenced to die for the January 2000 beating and shooting death of 87-year-old Bessie Lee Thweatt at her
Wicksburg home.

In a separate ruling, the criminal appeals court upheld the conviction and death sentence of Roderick Byrd, convicted in the Thanksgiving Day 2005 shooting deaths of three people at a Birmingham motel. The court also affirmed the death sentence of Kerry Spencer after the trial judge amended his sentencing order a second time. Spencer was convicted of killing three Birmingham police officers in 2004.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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