In a 2-1 ruling, the N.C. Court of Appeals denied a convicted Columbus County murderer’s attempt to escape punishment. He claimed racial bias during jury selection tainted his trial.

The case involves Antiwuan Tyrez Campbell, convicted in 2017 of first-degree murder in the 2015 killing of Allen Wilbur Davis Jr. The defendant’s lawyer argued that prosecutors dismissed a disproportionate number of African-American jurors. This action could have entitled Campbell to new legal proceedings.

Two appellate judges rejected the argument. A dissenting judge would have sent the case back to the trial court for further hearings on the topic.

The split ruling means the case could head to the N.C. Supreme Court.