U.S. Supreme Court rejects appeals from two Nevada killers

WASHINGTON - Appeals from Nevada death row inmates David Middleton and Patrick McKenna - considered one of the most dangerous men in state prison - were dismissed Tuesday by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The petitions were dismissed without comment. In McKenna's case, it was the third time that he had lost an appeal to the nation's highest court.

McKenna's latest petition was filed after the Nevada Supreme Court last year rejected his argument that heavy security in the courtroom during his penalty hearing was prejudicial to his case.

He was convicted in the 1979 strangulation of Clark County jail cellmate Jack Nobles. McKenna was in the jail after being convicted of raping two women. Court records state he and Nobles had argued over a chess game or over sex.

Besides his death penalty, McKenna has been sentenced to three life terms for three other killings, plus 75 years for the rapes and 92 years for his role in one of his escape attempts, in which two prisoners were killed.

Middleton, an ex-Miami police officer, had been convicted of the 1995 killings of two Reno-area women, schoolteacher Katherine Powell and casino worker Thelma Davila.

Prosecutors had described Middleton as a sadist who liked rough sex and argued that Middleton abducted the women from their homes and used a refrigerator with air holes to hold his victims.


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