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Latest appeals by killer tossed out

The convicted killer of a Miami topless club manager remains scheduled for execution Wednesday after the Florida Supreme Court unanimously denied multiple appeals Friday.

The issues raised by Angel Diaz, 55, included a challenge to Florida's method of lethal injection as being painfully cruel, similar to arguments made earlier this year by three other death row inmates who all lost their appeals and were executed.

In an unsigned opinion, the justices rejected Diaz's claim of discovering new information to support his lethal injection challenge.

The justices also turned aside a claim of new information on whether Diaz or an accomplice, Angel Toro, fatally shot Joseph Nagy while robbing the Velvet Swing in 1979. Toro received life in prison for second-degree murder as the result of a plea deal.

Diaz submitted a sworn statement from a jailhouse snitch, Ralph Gajus, saying he lied when he told a jury that Diaz admitted to him that he was the shooter. The Supreme Court, though, said the recanted testimony was an issue in a prior appeal so it cannot be considered new. It also concluded that the absence of Gajus' testimony probably would not have resulted in a life sentence, the only alternative to death for first-degree murder.

The high court also rejected Diaz's argument that he should not be executed because he is mentally ill.

Finally, the justices turned aside his claim that a law barring state lawyers who represent death row inmates from pursuing civil rights cases is unconstitutional because it has prevented his attorney from challenging the lethal injection method in federal court.

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