Witness: Lawyers Wanted Guilty Plea in Death Case

By: The Associated Press Email
By: The Associated Press Email

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) - A social worker hired six years ago to help defend a Texas man now on death row says defense attorneys showed him autopsy photos in an effort to get him to plead guilty despite his claim of innocence.

Amanda Maxwell testified Wednesday in a hearing to determine whether Stephen Barbee should get a new trial over claims that he received ineffective counsel because one of his court-appointed attorneys and the judge had a "secret deal" to dispose of cases quickly.

Barbee was convicted in 2006 for the killing of his pregnant ex-girlfriend and her 7-year-old son.

Maxwell said the "overriding theme" for Barbee's attorneys was getting a guilty plea. She testified the attorneys found their client "disgusting" because he cried.

The hearing is expected to last two days.

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