Gag Order to be Vacated in Somerville Slayings

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A state court has ordered a gag order to be lifted in the capital murder retrial of former death-row inmate Anthony Graves.

A state appeals court ruled last week that Burleson County District Judge Reva Towslee-Corbett has 14 days to vacate the gag order.

The opinion says Judge Towslee-Corbett "committed a clear abuse of discretion by issuing a gag order without making sufficiently specific findings to support a prior restraint on Graves's right to free expression under article I, section 8 of the Texas Constitution." (Read the entire opinion in Related Links below)

The Houston Chronicle reports Graves' attorneys appealed the gag order, arguing that it violated Graves' free-speech rights under the Texas and U.S. Constitutions.

Graves was convicted in the 1992 murders of Bobbie Joyce Davis, 45; her 16-year-old daughter, Nicole; and four grandchildren, between 4 and 9.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a new trial last year. Graves remains in the Burleson County Jail under a $1 million bail.