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Man convicted in killings of woman, boy witness loses appeal

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Russell Peeler

HARTFORD — A three-judge panel has rejected the latest appeal of a Connecticut man convicted of ordering the 1999 killings of a woman and her 8-year-old son because the boy was going to testify against him.

Three judges on the state Appellate Court on Monday unanimously upheld a lower court ruling against former Bridgeport drug dealer Russell Peeler Jr.

Peeler said a lower court judge made mistakes including ruling that the prosecution did not suppress key evidence during his trial.

Authorities say Peeler ordered the killings of Karen Clarke and her son, B.J. Brown, in their Bridgeport home. B.J. was a witness against Peeler in the 1997 killing of Clarke’s boyfriend.

Peeler was sentenced to death, but was re-sentenced to life in prison last year after the state abolished the death penalty.

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