The Nevada Supreme Court has upheld three murder convictions in a series of orders issued this week.
Ronald Roy Santos was convicted of shooting Judy Chappelle to death and sentenced to two consecutive life terms without parole. He argued that his trial lawyer was ineffective, but the high court said the trial judge gave adequate consideration to his claims and rejected them.
Raymond Gene Phenix also was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to two consecutive life terms without parole. He too petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus. Phenix argued the state violated court rules by concealing evidence that could have helped him convince a jury that others committed the crime. The high court ruled Phenix failed to show the outcome of the trial would have been any difference.
In the third case, Tam Cong Nguyen was convicted of murder and sentenced to two life terms with possible parole. Like Santos, he petitioned for relief on grounds his trial lawyer's performance was deficient enough to prejudice his defense. The high court rejected all 15 arguments against his trial lawyer and three filed against his appellate counsel as being without merit.
Like the others, Nguyen's conviction and sentence were upheld.