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Man convicted in double killing loses appeal

By The Associated Press

This article was published May 22, 2014 at 4:21 p.m.

LITTLE ROCK — A man convicted and sentenced to execution in the 1986 slayings of a man and woman in Ash Flat has lost an appeal before the Arkansas Supreme Court.

The court on Thursday turned away arguments by 64-year-old Steven Victor Wertz that he had ineffective counsel during his trial.

The killings of Terry Watts and Kathy Watts went unsolved for a decade, until a Sharp County detective interviewed an ex-wife of Wertz's and another woman, who provided enough information to charge Wertz.

The Wattses were in a custody dispute with Wertz's ex-wife at the time of the killings. Wertz was arrested in 2006 and convicted a year later.

In a dissent, Special Justice Andrew Fulkerson concurred that Wertz had effective counsel during trial but argued he had ineffective assistance during sentencing.


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