HOUSTON - An El Paso man convicted and sent to death row for the slayings of two women almost 30 years ago has won a new punishment trial.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Wednesday agreed with a trial judge's findings that Angel Galvan Rivera had poor legal help at his 1986 trial in El Paso.
Rivera's appeals lawyers argued his trial attorneys didn't properly investigate Rivera's background or present evidence that could have convinced jurors to decide on a sentence other than death.
The former cook was convicted of murdering 88-year-old Jewel Haygood and sentenced to death in 1986.
He was also a suspect but never tried in the deaths of 62-year-old Iona Dikes and 82-year-old Julia Fleenor, who were found strangled at their El Paso home in October 1984. The house had been set on fire. Evidence also showed they both had been raped.
Haygood lived just blocks away from the two women. All three were killed in a similar fashion. He was sentenced to death in 1986.
Rivera also is serving 20 years in prison on a separate aggravated rape case.
There are nine people from El Paso County that are currently on death row in Texas.
Texas Tribune contributed to this article.