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Death row inmate wants new trial

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A jury convicted Acklin of killing four people in 1996. A jury convicted Acklin of killing four people in 1996.
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

The man who killed four people in what has been called the "Cell Phone Murders" in Huntsville back in 1996 wants a new trial.

Nick Acklin has been on Death Row since his conviction, but once again sat in front of a Madison County judge Monday.

Acklin's appeal is centered on "Rule 32," which basically questions the effectiveness of his legal team during his original trial. He has new representation from attorneys as far out as Atlanta who believe Acklin did not receive a fair trial.

They cite the fact that Acklin was given Xanax before trial, which they believe affected his demeanor in front of the jury.

His original trial attorney, Behrouz Rahmati, was grilled on the stand about every detail and decision he made 15 years ago.

He was retained for a fee of $25,000 and to this day, was only paid $5,000 to defend Acklin. Acklin's defense questioned if his original legal team worked as hard as they could when they hadn't been paid.

Madison County District Attorney Rob Broussard prosecuted the case back in 1998.

"If you talk about justice and you believe in justice, you ought to have justice. And you ought not to have a system where folks can manipulate it," he said.

Rahmati said Acklin actually asked for the jury not to hear allegations that he was abused as a child because the details would have further embarrassed his family.

The family of one of the victims said Acklin has dragged his death sentence out long enough, and the system needs to change.

"I think there should be a limit put on it. Any time they sentence someone to death, I think five or six years is a max," said Larry and Marcia Hemphill. Their son was killed in the 1996 murders.

The hearing is expected to last about a week, with the judge making the final decision if Acklin will be granted a new trial.

Copyright 2013 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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