- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 18, 2014

HOUSTON (AP) - A federal appeals court has rejected an appeal from a 44-year-old East Texas man condemned for the slaying of an auto mechanic during a robbery in Tyler more than a decade ago.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling late Monday moves Gregory Russeau a step closer to execution for the fatal beating of 75-year-old James Syvertson at his shop. His wallet and car were stolen. Russeau was arrested the next day in Longview in the stolen car.

Russeau’s initial death sentence was thrown out on appeal and he was sentenced a second time. He unsuccessfully argued his trial legal help was deficient, that trial prosecutors used planted evidence and lawyers at his second punishment trial had a conflict because they also represented him at his first trial.