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Hearing denied; Tuesday execution still on

Pedro Medina moved two steps closer to the electric chair Friday, when an Orlando judge ruled against his request for a new hearing and the Florida Supreme Court quickly affirmed the decision.

Orange Circuit Judge Richard Conrad held a 20-minute hearing Thursday on claims that Medina's attorneys had new evidence that the Cuban immigrant is innocent of the 1982 murder of an Orlando teacher.

Conrad denied their request for a hearing Friday and was backed up by the state Supreme Court, meaning Medina's Tuesday execution is on schedule.

Medina's state-paid attorneys had argued that his earlier lawyers were deprived of vital information that could have changed jurors' minds in 1983. They had earlier failed to persuade Conrad and the high court that Medina, 39, is too mentally ill to be executed.

The jury convicted Medina of stabbing his former neighbor, Dorothy James, 52.

Medina has had several court hearings about his mental health. He claims to have gotten advice about his case from physicist Albert Einstein and has eaten paper and feces during court hearings.

On Wednesday, the Florida Supreme Court backed Conrad's decision that Medina is mentally fit to die because he understands what it means to be executed and the reasons for it.