Chafee Allowed to Join Pleau Federal Custody Battle

BOSTON (AP) – A three-judge panel of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says Gov. Lincoln Chafee may join the appeal in a custody battle over a Rhode Island murder suspect who could face the death penalty on a federal charge.

Chafee had been seeking a more prominent role in the legal tug-of-war over Jason Pleau, who's accused of murdering a gas station manager outside a bank last year.

Prosecutors said the governor shouldn't be allowed to intervene because his request came too late. The Providence Journal reports the judges ruled Monday in Boston that he may join the case.

Chafee, who opposes the death penalty, wants to keep Pleau in state custody. Pleau has agreed to plead guilty to state murder charges and serve life in prison without parole.

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