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Larry O\'Dell the Associated Press
Published: 04 November 2011

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- The Virginia Supreme Court has refused to throw out the incest conviction of a former Martin Luther King Jr. confidant who died while his appeal was pending.

The Rev. James L. Bevel's attorney had sought what's known as an abatement. Abatement is based on the theory that a conviction is not final until the appeals process is complete. In 2009, a lower court judge also refused to toss the conviction after hearing emotional testimony from Bevel's victim.

The state Supreme Court ruled that the Legislature, not the courts, ought to determine whether convictions should be wiped out if a defendant dies while appealing the case.

Neither Bevel's attorney, Bonnie Hoffman, nor the state attorney general's office immediately responded to messages seeking comment.

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