- Associated Press - Monday, February 8, 2016

HOUSTON (AP) - A San Antonio man condemned for a fatal shooting during a robbery 12 years ago has lost a federal appeal, moving him a step closer to execution.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday rejected arguments from 34-year-old Juan Castillo that primarily contended the legal help at his trial was deficient.

Castillo was convicted of the December 2003 slaying of 19-year-old Tommy Garcia Jr. Evidence showed Garcia was shot seven times in an ambush at a San Antonio lovers lane after he was lured there by Castillo’s girlfriend. She pleaded guilty before Castillo’s 2005 trial and testified against him.

Late in his trial, Castillo fired his lawyers and represented himself. He cross-examined no witnesses during the trial’s punishment phase and made no final argument to jurors.

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