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Ruling favors Garfield man on death row

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Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, 6:20 p.m.





Attorneys for a Garfield man sitting on death row never filed his appeal of a 2001 conviction on charges that he raped a minor girl, so he can make that appeal in an attempt to overturn his death sentence, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

An Allegheny County jury convicted Kenneth Hairston, 61, of the rape charges and unrelated burglary charges. A second jury in 2002 convicted him of bludgeoning his wife and son to death with a sledgehammer and then setting their home on fire.

U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer ordered the state appellate courts to hear Hairston's appeal, based on a report by U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Mitchell that concluded his attorneys essentially abandoned Hairston after his convictions.

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