Convicted hit man set to die March 7 loses federal appeal

Convicted hit man set to die March 7 loses federal appeal

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) - A convicted hit man set for execution in two weeks has lost an appeal at a federal appeals court.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, ruling in an appeal for 44-year-old Rolando Ruiz, has refused to overturn a previous decision where his attorneys argued Ruiz had deficient legal assistance during his trial for the slaying of a San Antonio woman in 1992. The inmate's attorneys contended the ruling was incorrect. The appeals court late Tuesday said it was "unpersuaded" by their arguments.

Ruiz is set for lethal injection March 7.

He was condemned for collecting $2,000 to kill 29-year-old Theresa Rodriguez in a life insurance scheme involving her husband and a brother-in-law.

In 2007, Ruiz came within an hour of execution before the 5th Circuit halted the punishment.

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