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Sep 6, 2012 6:43 PM by Kate Richards

Appeal rejected in deadly apartment fire

DENVER (AP) - An appeal by a man convicted in a deadly 2007 Colorado Springs apartment fire on the basis that his mental illness led to incriminating statement to police has been rejected by the Colorado Court of Appeals.

In denying Derrick "Nicky" Johnson's claim Thursday, the court found that Johnson's actions during five recorded police interviews indicated that he intelligently spoke with police. Among Johnson actions noted by the court were his attempts to offer investigators information about the fire in exchange for lower bail.

The court also found that prosecutors discredited a defense expert who testified about Johnson's mentally illness.

A jury convicted Johnson of first-degree murder and other felonies in January 2009 for the fire at Castle West Apartments that killed two men.

Johnson is serving two consecutive life sentences.

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