A 33-year-old Bexar County man condemned for the slaying of a San Antonio police officer nearly 13 years ago is a step closer to execution after a federal appeals court rejected his appeal.
Attorneys for Manuel Garza Jr. argued to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that he had deficient legal help at his trial in 2002 for gunning down officer John Riojas. The New Orleans-based court last week rejected the argument.
Evidence showed the officer was shot in February 2001 with his own gun when Garza was trying to flee and grabbed the weapon during a struggle. At the time, Garza had several outstanding warrants.
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He told police in a confession he ran from Riojas because he didn't want to return to jail.