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Mississippi justices reject latest appeal in death row case

April 9, 2021 GMT

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi man will remain on death row after the state Supreme Court on Thursday denied his most recent appeal.

David Dickerson, now 51, was convicted of capital murder, arson and armed robbery in 2012 in Copiah County. Prosecutors said he shot 36-year-old Paula Hamilton and then set her body on fire. Hamilton was Dickerson’s ex-girlfriend and the mother of his daughter. The crimes took place in 2011 in Copiah County.

The state Supreme Court in 2015 affirmed Dickerson’s conviction and death sentence. Attorneys representing him filed another appeal, arguing he had an intellectual disability.

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Court records show Dickerson had been evaluated for two months at the State Hospital at Whitfield before he stood trial. He was found mentally competent for trial and doctors said he had no credible symptoms of mental illness. Doctors also said Dickerson was uncooperative and fabricated psychiatric symptoms.

In the ruling Thursday, justices rejected arguments that Dickerson’s trial attorneys had failed to provide an adequate defense.

The state has not set an execution date for Dickerson.