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Thursday, 9 August, 2001, 14:24 GMT 15:24 UK
Prisoner faces new murder charges
execution chair
Kleason once faced execution in America
A UK prisoner who spent two years on death row faces being extradited back to America after police uncovered new DNA evidence.

Robert Elmer Kleason, who is being held by immigration officials in the UK, has been indicted by a grand jury in Austin, Texas, over the 1974 murders of Mormon missionaries Mark Fischer and Gary Darley.

Kleason, 68, was previously convicted of Fischer's murder and sentenced to death in 1975.

The conviction was overturned and Kleason was released after spending two years awaiting execution.

New indictment

But advances in DNA analysis and other forensic tools allowed the new indictment in the murders of Fischer and Darley, Travis county prosecutor Ronald Earle said.

He faces life in prison if convicted.

Kleason moved to Barton on Humber, Humberside, in 1990 and was given a three-year prison term last year for illegal firearms and munitions possession.

His estranged wife, a penfriend he came to Britain to marry, had tipped off police about a stash of illegal weapons in his home.

Home Office officials refused to say where Kleason was being held or comment on his possible extradition.

A spokeswoman said: "We can't comment on individual cases and we can't confirm or deny extradition requests."

Before he was arrested in 1974, Kleason lived in a trailer behind a taxidermist's shop near Austin.

Bloody discovery

Police believe Darley, 20, of California, and Fischer, 19, both from Wisconsin, were shot dead after agreeing to meet Kleason for dinner.

Police discovered Fischer's bloody watch and bullet-punctured name tag in Kleasen's trailer but the pair's bodies never were found.

Investigators discovered blood and tissue on a band-saw in the taxidermy shop. Prosecutors at Kleasen's 1975 murder trial alleged he dismembered the victims and buried the remains.

Kleason also served time in a federal prison for firearms violations and in New York for assault.

He was paroled in 1988, two years before emigrating to Britain.

See also:

25 Jan 01 | Americas
Retrial hopes for death row Briton
08 Dec 99 | Americas
Murder case Briton seeks retrial
28 Oct 97 | Americas
Maharaj Death Sentence
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