- Associated Press - Friday, October 31, 2014

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A Douglas County District judge was correct to deny a motion for freedom by a man convicted of first-degree murder for participating in the gruesome 2002 killing of Omaha restaurant manager during a robbery, the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled Friday.

Luis Fernando-Granados, 31, was also convicted in 2003 of a weapons count, and sentenced to life in prison for the death of Mindy Schrieber. Authorities say Schrieber, the manager of a Ruby Tuesday’s restaurant, was stabbed 42 times and run over with a car as Fernando-Granados - a former employee at the restaurant - and an accomplice robbed the restaurant.

Prosecutors presented overwhelming evidence to convict Fernando-Granados, including the victim’s DNA found at his home and on his personal belongings, her belongings found on Fernando-Granados and his own confession to police.

Fernando-Granados’ conviction and sentence were upheld on direct appeal in 2004. In 2012, he filed a motion for postconviction relief.

Such motions are filed once all other appeals have been exhausted. Postconviction relief claims rarely succeed, because prisoners must show that their constitutional rights were violated in a way so extreme that it renders their convictions void. The motions often claim that prisoners’ defense lawyers did not effectively defend them.

In his motion, Fernando-Granados argued that his public defender was ineffective for failing to request an independent forensic expert, failing to object to some testimony and failing to introduce arguments that another man had motive and opportunity to kill Schrieber. Fernando-Granados also argued that his appeal attorney should have presented arguments alleging prosecutorial misconduct and that authorities failed to advise him of his consular rights under the Vienna Convention.

The Nebraska Supreme Court, though, found that Fernando-Granados’ trial court did not err in denying his motion, saying that even if his allegations were true, it would not have changed the outcome of his trial.

“None of the proposed allegations called into question Fernando-Granados’ fault or culpability,” Justice Michael McCormack wrote for the high court. “Therefore, we find that, given the great weight of the evidence against Fernando-Granados, there was no ineffective assistance of counsel because there was no prejudice to Fernando-Granados’ case.”

An attorney for Fernando-Granados did not immediately return a message left Friday seeking comment.

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