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Man on death row for triple slaying in Austin in 1998 loses federal court appeal for 3rd time

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HOUSTON — A divided federal appeals court panel again has refused an appeal from a condemned triple killer in Austin who argues his previous attorney abandoned him and missed a critical deadline for filing an appeal.

Louis Castro Perez is on Texas death row for the 1998 slayings of 31-year-old Michelle Fulwiler, 38-year-old Cinda Barz, and Barz' 9-year-old daughter, Staci Mitchell. The women, who worked for the Travis County juvenile probation department, were beaten. The girl was strangled. All three shared an Austin home.

In a 2-1 ruling late Wednesday, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said a lower court's December ruling allowing the 53-year-old Perez to file an out-of-time appeal was improper. It's Perez' third attempt to get an appeals deadline extended.

He does not have an execution date.

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