HOUSTON -- A federal appeals court has refused an appeal from a Missouri man condemned for the slayings of a Texas Tech University dean and an 18-year-old Lubbock woman 12 years ago.
The ruling late Tuesday from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals moves 41-year-old Vaughn Ross a step closer to execution for the fatal shootings of 53-year-old Douglas Birdsall and Viola McVade. Birdsall was associate dean of libraries at the Lubbock school. Ross, a former Tech student from St. Louis, had been dating McVade’s sister.
The victims were found shot in the head Jan. 31, 2001, inside Birdsall’s car. DNA evidence tied their deaths to Ross.
Ross’ unsuccessful appeal contended deficient legal help early in his appeals prevented him from pursing appeals that his trial attorneys also were deficient.