The man who kidnapped, raped and killed a 10-year-old Kansas City, Kan., girl in 1999 lost an appeal of his conviction and death sentence Wednesday.
The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the claims of Keith D. Nelson that his attorney had provided ineffective assistance.
Nelson, now 44, kidnapped Pamela Butler, who was rollerblading near her house when Nelson grabbed her, threw her into a pickup truck and sped away.
Two of her sisters witnessed the kidnapping, including Casey Eaton, who in 2017 was fatally shot near where Pamela had been taken.
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Several days after Pamela was kidnapped, her body was found in a wooded area in Grain Valley. Nelson was the subject of a widely-publicized manhunt, and his arrest was broadcast live on television.
Nelson was linked to the crime by DNA, and in 2001 he pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Kansas City to a charge of interstate kidnapping resulting in death.
He was subsequently sentenced to death. At his sentencing hearing, Nelson showed no remorse and unleashed a “profanity-laden tirade” in court, according to Wednesday’s appeals court ruling.
An initial appeal by Nelson was previously denied, and the U.S. Supreme Court denied his request for a hearing.
Wednesday’s ruling dealt with several issues pertaining to how Nelson’s attorney represented him, including advising him to plead guilty.
The court denied the appeal on each count.