Court allows appeal in case of murdered Fort Worth mom, son

HOUSTON (AP) — A federal appeals court is allowing Texas death row inmate Stephen Barbee to move forward with an appeal contending his trial attorney improperly told jurors that Barbee was responsible for the February 2005 slayings of his pregnant ex-girlfriend and her 7-year-old son at their Fort Worth home.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld an appeals claim that Barbee’s trial lawyer was deficient for making the comment to jurors and not having Barbee’s permission to say it to jurors during closing arguments of the trial’s punishment phase. The court rejected several other appeals claims but said Wednesday it took the action to resolve any doubts in a death penalty case.

The 49-year-old Barbee was condemned for the suffocations of 34-year-old Lisa Underwood and her son, Jayden.