MADISONVILLE, Texas (AP) – A 35-year-old man sentenced to die for the deaths of his daughter and two other young girls in an east central Texas house fire 14 years ago has lost a federal court appeal, moving him a step closer to execution.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals late Tuesday refused claims from attorneys for Raphael Holiday that testimony against him improperly was allowed at his trial in Huntsville in 2002, that his indictment was flawed and that a juror improperly was removed during jury selection.

Holiday was condemned for the September 2000 deaths of his 18-month-old daughter, Justice, and her half-sisters, 5-year-old Jasmine Raquel DuPaul and 7-year-old Tierra Shena Lynch, in a blaze set at their home in Madison County.

Holiday was the estranged common-law husband of the girls’ mother.

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