- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 23, 2014

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A federal appeals court has upheld a gang member’s death sentence for killing two brothers at a North Carolina restaurant.

A divided three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond on Wednesday rejected several claims by Alejandro Enrique Ramirez Umana. The MS-13 gang member claimed his statements to police were coerced, that the prosecutor made prejudicial remarks and that his mental retardation defense at sentencing was improperly rejected.

In a dissenting opinion, Judge Roger Gregory said the introduction of transcripts of police interviews with accomplices linking Umana to two murders in Los Angeles violated his rights.

Umana was convicted of the 2007 murders of Ruben Garcia Salinas and Manuel Garcia Salinas in Greensboro. He was the first MS-13 member sentenced to death in the United States.

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