High court rejects Witter claims

The Nevada Supreme Court ruled that William Lester Witter has no valid claim in his fight to escape a death sentence.

Witter was convicted of stabbing James Cox to death in 1993, attempted murder by stabbing the victim's wife Kathryn many times and of attempted rape.

Cox was killed when he tried to prevent Witter from raping his wife in a Las Vegas Strip resort parking lot. Witter was sentenced to death for the murder.

His direct appeal was unsuccessful so he filed for a writ of habeas corpus, claiming his trial lawyer was ineffective. Witter presented several specific claims, including an objection to the prosecution decision to challenge a black juror. The justices disposed of that objection, concluding they didn't see the relevance since Witter isn't black.

While he argued there are numerous examples that show the deficiencies of his defense, the high court ruled that throughout he failed to support his claims with any reference to the court record, a specific argument or legal authority.

Witter's petition for a writ that could overturn his death sentence was rejected Friday by a three justice panel consisting of Cliff Young, Myron Leavitt and Nancy Becker.


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