Appeals court upholds death penalty sentences

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - A state appeals court has upheld the death sentence and capital murder conviction of a man charged with the murder and rape of a 10-year-old girl in Jefferson County.

The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals Friday upheld the death sentence of 30-year-old Willie Earl Scott. Scott was convicted of the Sept. 11, 1999 rape and asphyxiation death of 10-year-old Latonya Sager. She was found dead in her bed at her home in the Norwood area of Birmingham. The appeals court rejected Scott's argument that his attorneys were ineffective. The appeals court also upheld the death sentence of 38-year-old Joe Nathan James for the Aug. 15, 1994 shooting death of his former girlfriend, Faith Hall in Jefferson County. James had also argued he had ineffective counsel.

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