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Court hears appeal from man on death row in police slaying

January 23, 2018

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A federal appeals court has heard arguments in the case of a Virginia man sentenced to death for killing a police officer in 2005.

Thomas Porter was convicted of shooting Norfolk police Officer Stanley Reaves three times in the head.

Porter testified he shot Reaves in self-defense because he feared for his life during an encounter with the officer. Prosecutors said Porter shot Reaves to avoid arrest.

Porter’s lawyers say he was convicted and sentenced to death by a biased jury, citing a juror who failed to disclose that his brother was a deputy sheriff.

In arguments before the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday, Porter’s lawyer said he is entitled to a hearing on his claim.

The state says there is no evidence the juror was biased.

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