The state Supreme Court has upheld the conviction and death sentence of a southwest Missouri man who has been tried five times for murder.

The Court has rejected the claim by prison inmate Walter Barton that his lawyer did a poor job when Barton was convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering an 81-year old woman in Ozark 23 years ago. The woman, Gladys Kuehler, was stabbed 52 times.

Barton’s first two trials ended in mistrials. His first two convictions ended in reversals–the first by the state Supreme Court, the second by a circuit judge. Today’s ruling is the second time the state Supreme Court has upheld his 2006 conviction. It also upheld his conviction in 2007.

Barton does not appear close to execution. His can still make appeals through the federal courts.