LOS ANGELES (AP) — An appeals court has upheld a decision to throw out the conviction of a Southern California man who confessed to killing his estranged wife and a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy.

City News Service says the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that Reuben Lujan wasn’t properly advised of his legal rights before he confessed to the 1998 killings.

The panel upheld a lower court ruling that overturned Lujan’s first-degree murder convictions. However, there’s still a chance that Lujan could be retried or convicted of a lesser crime.

Prosecutors say the Norwalk man used a concrete block to smash in the heads of 26-year-old Monica Lujan and her friend, off-duty Deputy Gilbert Madrigal.

Lujan is serving a life sentence without possibility of parole.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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