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Published: Wednesday, 8/19/2009

Court denies appeal of inmate serving life


CINCINNATI A federal appeals court Monday rejected the claim of a man convicted in a 1999 Toledo slaying that statements he made to police were coerced with the promise of a plea deal that never materialized.

Chad Beach, 30, was convicted in 2002 and is serving a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 20 years at Marion Correctional Institution. The body of Joshua Buck, 24, was found on Christmas Day, 1999, in a sewer manhole in a wooded area behind Bowsher High School.

A panel of the Cincinnati-based U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1 to uphold Beach s conviction and sentence.

Writing for the majority, Circuit Judge Julia Smith Gibbons noted the panel didn t accept Beach s argument that he agreed to make statements to police only after he was promised a deal to plead to a lesser crime after passing a lie detector test. He failed the test and the deal was withdrawn, but his statements still were used against him at trial.

Beach argued in the state court that his statements were inadmissible because he acted at the direction of his lawyer and with the belief that his lawyer was negotiating a plea for him, Judge Gibbons wrote. What is missing, however, is any allegation of coercion by the police.

Judge Eric L. Clay cast the vote for Beach, saying enough unresolved questions remain to warrant a hearing.

Mr. Buck apparently was lured to his Christmas Eve death by a bogus marijuana transaction that was instead a ruse to rob him of $30,000. He was shot in the head.

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