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Texas Death Row Inmate Begins Quest For New Trial

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Stephen Barbee (credit: Texas Department of Criminal Justice)

FORT WORTH (AP) - A hearing is set to determine whether a Texas man sentenced to death for killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend and her 7-year-old son should get a new trial.

Attorneys for Stephen Barbee plan to argue Wednesday that the 44-year-old death row inmate received ineffective counsel when he was convicted in a 2006 trial that lasted less than three days.

They claim Barbee’s court-appointed attorney, William H. “Bill” Ray, had a “secret deal” with the trial judge, Bob Gill, to move cases quickly through the judge’s court.

Gill retired in 2007 and now works is an assistant district attorney in Tarrant County.

State District Judge Louis Sturns, Gill’s successor, will preside over the hearing and recommend whether a new trial is warranted.

The hearing is expected to last two days.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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