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US Supreme Court declines to hear Fort Wayne case

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The case of an Ohio man sentenced to 60 years for killing a man he found sleeping in a motel room where he and other traveling magazine vendors were staying is headed to the Indiana Court of Appeals after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear it.

The Supreme Court decided Monday against hearing the state's appeal of a 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling. The court ruled last year the public defender who handled Shaw's appeal, Gregory Miller, should have challenged the murder charge because prosecutors missed by several months a legal deadline for upgrading the original charge of aggravated battery.

The federal appeals court found that Shaw demonstrated prejudice as he had a reasonable chance of success on appeal but for Miller's deficient performance.

“The bottom line is that attorney Miller was faced with two potential arguments, one undeniably frivolous and the other solidly based on a state statute and reinforced by the Indiana Supreme Court’s pronouncement in Haak. In the face of this choice, Miller opted for the hopeless sufficiency challenge,” Judge Diane Wood wrote in the July 2013 opinion.

Shaw and members of his magazine-selling team attacked Brett King, an univited stranger, in their hotel room. King was chased outside and beaten to death. Shaw and two other men were charged with aggravated battery, although Shaw denied being involved in the attack. The two other men agreed to testify against Shaw, which led to the state seeking to elevate his charge from aggravated battery to murder.

Shaw is being held at the Indiana State Prison.

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