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East Texas man set to die next week for fire deaths of 3 children loses federal appeal


HOUSTON — A federal appeals court has refused to stop next week's scheduled execution of an East Texas man condemned for setting a fire that killed his young daughter and her two half-sisters at their home 15 years ago.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals late Thursday rejected a petition from an attorney for 36-year-old Raphael Holiday.

Austin-based lawyer Gretchen Sween is arguing Holiday's court-appointed attorneys have abandoned him and his lethal injection scheduled for Wednesday should be stopped so new attorneys can be named for him and pursue appeals.

Sween said Friday she'll appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Holiday's court-appointed attorneys say his legal issues have been exhausted.

Holiday is facing execution for the three fire deaths at the rural Madison County home of his estranged former common-law wife.

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