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RALEIGH, NC (AP) — Defense attorneys are asking a North Carolina appeals court to reconsider the life prison sentence for a serial killer.

Lawyers for 34-year-old Samuel Cooper of Raleigh told the state Court of Appeals that police pressured Cooper into telling investigators what they wanted to hear by holding his father on a weapons charge.

Defense attorney Mark Montgomery says Cooper confessed after four days in jail because he has a strong attachment to his father and thought his confession would free his dad.

Cooper was convicted last year on five counts of first-degree murder.

He was arrested in 2007 and accused of robbing a Garner bank. Investigators found a 9 mm handgun that was linked to a string of seemingly unrelated slayings over a 17-month period in 2006 and 2007.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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