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Judge refuses retrial in triple slaying

After hearing an hour of arguments from each side Thursday, Circuit Judge Susan Schaeffer said no to a motion to grant convicted triple-murderer Oba Chandler a new trial.

Chandler, 48, was found guilty last month of luring three Ohio women aboard his boat and then killing them. The bodies of Joan Rogers, 36, and her daughters Christe, 14, and Michelle, 17, were found floating in Tampa Bay five years ago, bound and gagged and weighted down, stripped below the waist.

Chandler's attorney, Fredric Zinober, argued that there were several reasons why the judge should grant Chandler a new trial. One argument he put forward said Schaeffer erred in allowing the prosecution to present evidence Chandler may have raped a Canadian tourist he lured aboard his boat 18 days prior to the murders.

Prosecutors contended the two crimes were similar.

Schaeffer said an appeals court may disagree with her ruling, but she had heard nothing to make her change her mind. She is scheduled to sentence Chandler at 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 4. By a vote of 12-0, the jury recommended she sentence him to death.

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