Court rejects Ala. death penalty appeal

ATLANTA (AP) - The federal appeals court in Atlanta has rejected an Alabama inmate's bid to overturn his death sentence for killing three people at a Gadsden Popeye's restaurant in 1994.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed Friday with a lower court, which said Robert Bryant Melson's habeas corpus petition was not timely filed.

The courts said rules required the filing within a year of the U.S. Supreme Court's March 2001 decision not to hear his direct appeal.

Melson first pursued other avenues of appeal and filed the habeas petition in 2004.

Melson was condemned for the shooting deaths during a robbery.

An accomplice, Cuahatemoc Peraita, is on death row for killing another Holman Prison inmate while serving a life term in the Gadsden deaths.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)