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Virginia Supreme Court Upholds Death Row Inmate's Conviction

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Virginia's Supreme Court has upheld the conviction and sentence of a Fairfax County death row inmate, the Associated Press reports.

Mark E. Lawlor was convicted in 2011 for the sexual assault and murder of a woman who lived in an apartment complex where he worked. Lawlor used a key to enter the apartment of 29-year-old Genevieve Orange in September of 2008. 

An autopsy found he bludgeoned her, first with a frying then, then with a hammer, striking 30 blows to her head and another 17 to her body, before he sexually assaulted her.

Lawlor conceded in court that he murdered Orange, but his attorneys argued he was so intoxicated by beer and crack-cocaine that he lacked the "willful, deliberate and premeditated intent" required for a capital murder conviction and the state's use of the death penalty. 

The jury rejected those claims, convicting Lawlor in 2011. Now, the state Supreme Court has rejected his constitutional challenges and other issues related to jury selection and instruction, denial of defense motions and the exclusion of certain evidence. 

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