Loden takes Itawamba County capital murder conviction appeal to federal courts

By The Associated Press

OXFORD — Federal court is the next stop for death row inmate Thomas E. Loden Jr., who is seeking to overturn his capital murder conviction.

WTVA-TV reports a federal judge in Oxford this week appointed a legal team to represent Loden.

Loden was convicted in 2001 in the murder of teenager Leesa Gray. Loden was sentenced to death plus 30 years on kidnapping and rape counts related to the case.

In April, the Mississippi Supreme Court declined to hear Loden’s post-conviction petition.

Gray disappeared June 22, 2000, while on her way home from work as a waitress at her family’s restaurant in the Dorsey community. According to court documents, her body was found dead the next day in Loden’s van.