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Carter's Lawyers Lose Appeal For Stay Of Tuesday's Execution

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RALEIGH, N.C. — A condemned murderer visited family membersMonday as he waited to see if an appeal to thegovernor would stop his execution scheduled for 2 a.m. Tuesday.

Earlier Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court denied an appeal.

Desmond Keith Carter, 35, was to be executed by injection forthe stabbing death of an elderly neighbor who refused him money tobuy drugs.

He was moved Sunday from death row to the isolated deathwatch area across the hall from the execution chamber.

As he prepared for execution, Carter's lawyers appealed to theU.S. Supreme Court challenging a state Supreme Court rejection of astay that was issued last week by a lower court judge. The SupremeCourt rejected the request without comment.

Lawyers for the state prepared to argue against another defenseappeal to the nation's high court after the first one was rejected.

Defense lawyers were appealing on the grounds that a Bible was usedduring jury deliberations.

Defense lawyers last week pleaded with Gov. Mike Easley to grantexecutive clemency and change the death sentence to life in prisonwithout parole.

In the high-court appeal, the defense asked for review ofCarter's case on three issues: racial bias in the death penalty,lack of prosecutorial discretion to seek a life in prison sentencefor first-degree murder and the state's indictment form thatdoesn't list all factors against a defendant.

Carter's lawyers said the death sentence was flawed by racialbias because his victim was white and Carter is black. Prosecutors havein recent years had the option of seeking a life sentence since theLegislature changed the law.

In addition to the death penalty at his 1993 trial, Carterreceived 40 years for robbery with a dangerous weapon for taking$15 from 71-year-old Helen Purdy.

Lawyers have said Carter wasintoxicated on alcohol, crack cocaine and tranquilizers when hestabbed Purdy.

"The evidence at trial showed that Mrs. Purdy had been brutallystabbed or cut with a butcher knife at least 13 times, and thatCarter eventually confessed to the murder and robbery," said thestate's brief opposing the defense appeal to the U.S. SupremeCourt.

Department of Correction spokesman Keith Acree said Cartervisited his father, brother, daughter, grandmother and aunt inaddition to defense lawyer Bill Osteen.

Carter told Warden R.C. Lee of Central Prison in Raleigh, wherethe execution was scheduled, that he didn't want anything specialfor a last meal.

Carter had two cheeseburgers, a steak sub and twoCokes from the canteen for his last meal, said Pam Walker, acorrections department spokeswoman.

Carter would be the 23rd person executed in North Carolina sincethe death penalty was reinstated in 1977. The last execution waslast Friday, when Ernest Basden was put to death for the 1992murder-for-hire of a Kinston insurance agent.

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