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Triple killer from Austin loses federal appeal

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HOUSTON (AP) - A federal appeals court has refused an appeal from a condemned triple killer in Austin who argued his attorney abandoned him and missed a critical deadline for filing an appeal.

Louis Castro Perez is on Texas death row for the 1998 slayings of 31-year-old Michelle Fulwiler, 38-year-old Cinda Barz, and Barz' 9-year-old daughter, Staci Mitchell. The women, who worked for the Travis County juvenile probation department, were beaten and the girl strangled. All three shared an Austin home.

In a 2-1 ruling, a panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said late Wednesday a lower court's decision that would allow the 52-year-old Perez to file an out-of-time appeal in his case was improper. A new attorney for Perez had filed a lawsuit seeking to file the new appeal.

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