LINCOLN — The Nebraska Supreme Court has granted each of two Omaha men another chance to argue for overturning their murder convictions.

The court ruled Friday that Derrick Stricklin, 41, and Terrell Newman, 44, should be allowed new hearings based on some of their claims that their trial attorneys had been ineffective.

But the high court rejected most of the arguments presented in their separate post-conviction appeals.

Stricklin and Newman were both convicted of two counts of first-degree murder for the shooting deaths of Carlos Morales and Bernardo Noriega in an Omaha auto body shop.

The two were found guilty on three counts each of use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony, attempted intentional manslaughter and possession of a deadly weapon by a prohibited person.

Newman and Stricklin received two life sentences each.

According to testimony at trial, the two tried to rob the victims of a package of cocaine. The victims were bound with computer wire, then Newman and Stricklin shot them in the head. Morales’ girlfriend found the men’s bodies on Dec. 2, 2012.

A go-between in the drug deal, Jose Herrera-Gutierrez, told police that he survived by playing dead. Herrera-Gutierrez identified Stricklin and Newman as the shooters.

The state high court granted Stricklin a hearing on claims that his trial attorney failed to present evidence of his alibi and failed to investigate information about other possible suspects.

Newman was granted a hearing on a claim that his trial attorney failed to investigate and present evidence from witnesses as to his alibi.

Martha Stoddard keeps legislators honest from The World-Herald's Lincoln bureau, where she covers news from the State Capitol. Follow her on Twitter @StoddardOWH. Phone: 402-473-9583.

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