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A 31-year-old Corpus Christi man on death row for killing a convenience store clerk during a $1.25 robbery in 2004 has lost a federal court appeal, moving him a step closer to execution

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HOUSTON — A 31-year-old Corpus Christi man on death row for killing a convenience store clerk during a $1.25 robbery in 2004 has lost a federal court appeal, moving him a step closer to execution.

Attorneys for John Ramirez contended he had deficient legal help at his 2008 trial in Corpus Christi, that the elimination of some potential jurors was improper because he wasn't in court at the time and that the courtroom wasn't open to the public during jury selection. They also argued Ramirez improperly was shackled during the trial.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday rejected the arguments.

Ramirez eluded police for four years until his arrest for the slaying of 45-year-old store clerk Pablo Castro. He was stabbed 29 times as he took out the trash.

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