HOUSTON (AP) — A 45-year-old Texas death row inmate convicted of killing two men in Fort Worth for duping him into buying a phony rock of crack cocaine has lost a federal court appeal, moving him a step closer to execution.

Christopher Wilkins had argued to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that he had deficient legal help at his 2008 trial in Tarrant County.

Court records show Wilkins escaped from a Houston halfway house in October 2005 and drove a stolen truck to Fort Worth. He met a homeless man, Willie Freeman, who supplied and shared drugs with another man, Mike Silva. Freeman and his supplier tricked Wilkins into spending $20 for a piece of gravel. Freeman and Silva were together a few weeks later when they were shot by Wilkins.

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