Fed court upholds denial of Ohio death-row inmate's appeal

CINCINNATI (AP) — A federal appeals panel has upheld a decision denying an Ohio inmate’s appeal of his death sentence for killing his cellmate.

A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. District Court in Cincinnati upheld a lower court’s ruling today that denied death-row inmate James Hanna’s appeal.

The 63-year-old Hanna had argued that his death sentence was improper, alleging prosecutorial misconduct and ineffective assistance of defense counsel.

In 1997, Hanna was serving a life sentence at the Lebanon Correctional Institution when he attacked his cellmate, Peter Copas, with a shank fashioned from a paint brush, stabbing him in his eye socket as he slept and beating him with his hands and a padlock.

Copas died from an infection partially caused by errors in his medical treatment about three weeks later.

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