Texas man executed for setting fire that killed 3 children

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A Texas inmate was executed Wednesday for setting a fire that killed his 18-month-old daughter and her two young half-sisters at an East Texas home 15 years ago.

Raphael Holiday, 36, became the 13th convicted killer put to death this year in Texas, which carries out capital punishment more than any other state. It has accounted for half of all executions in the U.S. so far this year.

The lethal injection was carried out after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal seeking to halt Holiday's punishment so new attorneys could be appointed to pursue additional unspecified appeals in his case.

Earlier Wednesday, the judge in Holiday's trial court stopped the execution after Holiday's trial attorney filed an appeal saying the conviction and some trial testimony were both improper. The judge agreed the issues should be reviewed and withdrew his execution warrant. The Texas attorney general's office appealed, the judge's order voided and the warrant reinstated, clearing the way for the lethal injection to move forward.

At the Supreme Court, Austin-based lawyer Gretchen Sween argued that Holiday's court-appointed attorneys abandoned him after the justices in June refused to review his case. Those lawyers advised Holiday his legal issues were exhausted and new appeals and a clemency petition would be fruitless.

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