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U.S. Court of Appeals upholds conviction of LeFlore County murderer James DeRosa

May 31, 2012

A convicted murderer who has appealed his double death sentence has again been denied a ruling in his favor.
James L. DeRosa, 35, was sentenced to death in the murders of Curtis and Gloria Plummer. 
The Plummers were found dead inside their home in October 2000, stabbed multiple times and with their throats cuts.
An investigation into the murders hastened along after accomplice Scotty White, 29, informed a school counselor he knew who murdered the Plummers.
White named Derosa and John Eric Castleberry, 39.
The three men were arrested in connection with the murders and subsequently tried and convicted in LeFlore County.
DeRosa received two death sentences, Castleberry two life sentences without parole and White, who was charged with accessory after the fact to murder received two twenty-five year sentences with the last seven years on probation.
Since his incarceration DeRosa has attempted to have his conviction overturned claiming both prosecutorial misconduct and ineffective trial counsel.
DeRosa further cited multiple other reasons, such as lack of investigation by defense and victim impact statements during sentencing that did not allow for him to have a fair and just trial and sentencing.
DeRosa has previously filed an appeal with the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, who also upheld the death sentences.
In his petition of appeal to the USCA, DeRosa claimed the OCCA erred when they upheld the decision made in his direct appeal and he has been held unlawfully.
After a review of the case the USCA cited "the prosecution alleged, and the jury found, the existence of two aggravating factors with respect to each of the murders."
The opinion states the evidence presented by the prosecution, which was essentially uncontroverted, overwhelmingly supported the jury's findings.
DeRosa has fourteen days to file an appeal of the latest decision to affirm his conviction. If no appeal is filed, the OCCA will set an execution date.
DeRosa's appeal process has few options left. His last effort to stay his order of execution for the deaths of the Plummers may lie with the United State Supreme Court.

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