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August 26 2015 | UNITED STATES

Texas court stays execution of Nicaraguan man convicted of 1997 murder

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 By Mark Berman August 25 

The highest criminal court in Texas has halted the scheduled execution of Bernardo Tercero, a Nicaraguan man convicted of murdering a high school teacher while robbing a dry cleaning store in 1997.

Texas had intended to execute Tercero on Wednesday evening, nearly two decades after he had been sentenced to death by a jury in HarrisCounty. On Tuesday, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals said in an order that it was stopping the execution to allow a trial court to review Tercero’s claim that authorities “presented false testimony at his trial.”

An attorney for Tercero submitted an affidavit from a witness in the case who said that she had falsely testified that Tercero discussed shooting Robert Berger, the man killed during the 1997 robbery. During his trial, Tercero testified that he and Berger — who was in a dry cleaning shop with his three-year-old daughter — had struggled over the gun before it accidentally discharged.

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