HOUSTON (AP) East Texas jurors wrongly used a Bible during deliberations in a capital murder case, but there isn't enough evidence to show they were prejudiced when they decided to send the perpetrator to death row, a federal appeals court said. The ruling from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals comes in the case of Khristian Oliver, who was condemned by a Nacogdoches County jury in 1999, a year after he and three companions were involved in a break-in in which Joe Collins, 64, was fatally shot and bludgeoned.
The court said it didn't see enough evidence to overturn decisions from the trial court and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals that upheld the jury verdict. At issue was a passage in Chapter 35 of Numbers which, in the New American Standard Bible, reads: "But if he struck him down with an iron object, so that he died, he is a murderer; the murderer shall surely be put to death."