- Associated Press - Monday, January 27, 2014

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to look at a post-conviction petition from Herman Saunders, who was convicted of two counts of capital murder in Mississippi in 1997.

Saunders had wanted to challenge jury instructions and sufficiency of the evidence.

Saunders is serving two life sentences without parole for hiring two men to kill Bennie Brown, a witness to a shooting.

The Supreme Court on Monday denied Saunders’ petition without comment.

Prosecutors said Saunders offered $3,000 each to Carlos Stewart and Danny Porter to kill Brown.

Prosecutors said Saunders wanted to prevent Brown from testifying to a Lauderdale County grand jury about a September 1993 shooting. They said Saunders fired shots into a vehicle occupied by Brown and Gloria Lampley. Lampley was then Saunders’ girlfriend and by the time of trial was his wife.

Stewart and Porter killed Brown and Brown’s niece, fearing she might identify them to police.

Brown and his niece were murdered at Brown’s home on Oct. 30, 1993, two days before Brown was to appear before the grand jury.

The Mississippi Supreme Court denied Saunders’ petition in August. That decision let stand a Rankin County judge’s order in 2011 that dismissed Saunders’ petition. An inmate argues in a post-conviction that he has found new evidence - or a possible constitutional issue - that could persuade a court to order a new trial.

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