A gang member on death row in El Paso for murder has lost a federal appeal.

The 31-year-old member of the Aryan Circle is on death row for strangling Melanie Billhartz in October 2002.

Billhartz was assaulted by Justen Grant Hall after an argument and threatened to report the assault to police. Hall and a fellow gang member feared that the meth cooking operation in the home would be found if Billhartz made the police repot.

After Strangling Billhartz, Hall dumped her body in the New Mexico desert outside El Paso, where her remains were found.

Hall's loss on appeal to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals brings him closer to execution, although a date has not yet been set.