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Appeals Court OKs Ruling Overturning Murder Convictions

  

(AP) - A California Death Row inmate is facing a new trial after a federal appeals court sided with a lower court that overturned his 1989 murder convictions.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday upheld a district court decision that found prosecutors were substantially motivated by race when they rejected the only prospective African American juror from Steven Crittenden's trial. Prosecutors have said the juror objected to the death penalty.

Crittenden, who is African American, was convicted of killing a Chico doctor and his wife at their home in 1987. Prosecutors have said the couple hired Crittenden to do yard work, but he robbed them.

A call to the Butte County district attorney's office was not immediately returned.