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Desoto Parish man still facing execution

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DESOTO PARISH, La., (KNOE 8 News) - Chris Sepulvado is still facing a date with execution after an appeal in December was rejected.

A Feb. 13 execution date was set for the former Mansfield man convicted of killing his stepson more than 20 years ago.

DeSoto District Judge Robert Burgess set the Chris Sepulvado's date with death over the objections of defense attorney Marty Stroud, who pledged an appeal to the Louisiana Supreme Court.

It wasn't the first time an effort was made to stop Sepuvado's execution. The five-page warrant of execution signed by the judge outlined in detail Sepulvado's failed appeals through state and federal court.

A DeSoto Parish jury in April 1993 imposed the death penalty for Sepulvado for the March 8, 1992 death of Wesley Allen Mercer, 6. The preschooler endured what authorities described as torture on the days leading to the end of his short life.

Allen was denied food and forced to sleep on trunk in his bedroom as punishment for soiling his pants at school two days before his death. As the family prepared for church on that Sunday, Allen hesitated when told by Sepulvado to wash his clothes in the toilet and take a bath.

Sepulvado hit Allen so hard in the head with a screwdriver handle that it rendered him unconscious. He then immersed Allen in a bathtub of scalding water that caused suffered third-degree burns and sloughed off the skin below a visible demarcation line along his body. Sepulvado and Allen's mother, Yvonne Mercer, waited three hours before seeking medical treatment.

Sepulvado claimed Allen's death was an accident, and he often quoted Bible scriptures and boasted of his church work during his trial. His physical appearance witnessed in the courtroom today differed little from that time.

Supulvado's last execution date set in 1997 was stayed during the prolonged appeals process. Although the appeals were denied, a new execution date was not set. Then in July 2008, Judge Burgess signed a court order delaying further action because the constitutionality of Louisiana's method of lethal injection was still under review by the state Supreme Court.

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