- Associated Press - Saturday, September 20, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A federal appeals court is set to hear the case of a 37-year-old Tennessee man serving a life sentence for the kidnapping and killing of a southern Kentucky couple in an incident involving a Confederate flag emblem in 1995.

The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati scheduled arguments on Oct. 1 for 37-year-old Frederick Dionte Morrow, who claims there’s not enough evidence to uphold the convictions and the racially-charged environment contributed to the jury’s findings.

Judges Dan Aaron Polster, David McKeague and Richard Allen Griffin will hear the case.

Morrow was 17 when he and three friends were arrested and charged with the deaths of Michael and Hannah Westerman of Guthrie, Kentucky. The two were traveling to Springfield, Tennessee, in a Chevrolet pick-up truck with a Confederate battle flag attached to a pole mounted on the truck’s tool box.

Prosecutors say Morrow and the other teens killed Michael Westerman while trying to kidnap Hannah Westerman. Morrow denied the allegation.



Police said as the Westermans crossed into Tennessee, two cars followed them. Police say someone shot Michael Westerman, who was white, when one of the cars passed his truck. Hannah Westerman took over driving before being stopped by the second car in the middle of the road. Hannah Westerman turned around to avoid a further confrontation and get medical help for her husband, who died Jan. 14, 1995 at Vanderbilt Hospital from a gunshot wound to the heart.

Police said during the investigation, Morrow, who is black, acknowledged that he was a passenger in the car when he shot several times at the Westermans’ truck. He said that they chased the Westermans after someone in the truck shook the Confederate flag at them and shouted a racial epithet.

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