OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – The Nebraska Supreme Court has rejected a postconviction appeal by a death-row inmate who helped carry out one of the deadliest bank shootings in U.S. history.
The state’s high court on Friday upheld a lower court decision rejecting – without an evidentiary hearing – Erick Vela’s motion for postconviction relief. Vela claimed in the motion that his lawyer did such a poor job of defending him that his convictions should be rendered void.
Vela and two other men were each sentenced to death for killing five people at a U.S. Bank branch in Norfolk on Sept. 26, 2002. A fourth man who served as a lookout was sentenced to life.
Vela pleaded guilty in 2003 to five counts of first-degree murder.