Judge denies Virginia inmate's request to represent himself in death-penalty appeal


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ROANOKE, Virginia — A judge has denied a Virginia inmate's request to manage his own federal death-penalty appeal.

William Morva was convicted of killing a hospital security guard and a sheriff's deputy in 2006 during an escape. He exhausted his state appeals in April 2013.

In the federal appeal case, Morva had sought a dismissal of his court-appointed attorneys.

The Roanoke Times (http://bit.ly/1oYtYxJ ) reports that U.S. District Judge Michael Urbanski ruled Friday that a federal appeal's technicalities are too complex for a lay person to manage. Urbanski also rejected Morva's request for new attorneys.

Urbanksi also ordered Morva to undergo a mental evaluation. He said he would rule on Morva's competence later.

Morva's lead attorney, Jonathan Sheldon, had asked Urbanksi to declare Morva incompetent and have him evaluated and treated.


Information from: The Roanoke Times, http://www.roanoke.com

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