Loden seeks federal hearing indeath penalty case

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

OXFORD – A Death Row inmate convicted of killing an Itawamba County woman has asked a federal judge to hear his appeal.
Attorneys for Thomas Edwin Loden Jr. on Tuesday filed a 30-page motion seeking an evidentiary hearing before Senior U.S. District Judge Neal B. Biggers.
They contend Loden’s case should be reconsidered for various reasons, including trial counsel’s alleged failure to fully investigate Loden’s mental condition as a factor in the death sentence.
They also claim poor advice from trial counsel led Loden to plead guilty and waive jury sentencing.
Their motion to Biggers insists that the Mississippi Supreme Court was wrong in denying his appeals, especially in doing so without a hearing where “many factual disputes” could be considered.
Loden is one of 10 state inmates awaiting execution from Northeast Mississippi convictions, nearly 20 percent of Death Row.
He pleaded guilty to the June 22, 2000, kidnap and murder of 16-year-old Leesa Marie Gray.
Circuit Judge Thomas Gardner agreed the “heinous” nature of the crime deserved the death penalty.
When Loden’s federal appeal was filed in 2012, his trial defense attorney, David Daniel of Tupelo, denied his former client’s claims of ineffective counsel.
Loden’s fate depends upon the federal appeal of the death sentence. He never filed appeals to any of the other convictions except the capital murder.

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