A state appellate court has refused to overturn the murder conviction of a southern New Jersey woman who was found guilty of stabbing her boyfriend.

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The Press of Atlantic City reports the two-judge panel rejected Denise Staples' claims that she did not get a fair trial or have good legal counsel during her 2004 trial. They also affirmed the 60-year sentence the Bridgeton woman received for the December 2001 slaying of 54-year-old Ernest Matthews

The now 52-year-old Staples has claimed she acted in self-defense, but authorities have said her claims are unbelievable.

Staples was convicted in April 2004 of murder and a weapons charge.

(Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)