East Texas Man's Death Penalty Appeal Moves Forward

A federal appeals court has agreed to consider an appeal from a 48-year-old East Texas man on death row for the 2002 slaying of his 2-year-old daughter.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says it will look at arguments on whether the rights of Robert Roberson III were violated when his trial judge in Palestine refused to allow testimony from a neurologist.

Roberson was convicted of the death of his daughter, Nikki Curtis, at their Palestine home. His attorneys contend the physician would have said Roberson didn't deliberately kill her, a key element in his defense.

The appeals court said late Wednesday the Supreme Court has made clear defendants are entitled to a meaningful opportunity to a complete defense.

The 5th Circuit has ordered briefings to address the issue.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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