May 14, 2012 Source : http://www.chron.com
HOUSTON (AP) — The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Monday stopped this week’s scheduled execution of a convicted killer whose mental health had become an issue in his appeals.
The state’s highest criminal court gave a reprieve to Steven Staley, 49, who was set for lethal injection Wednesday evening in Huntsville for the 1989 shooting death of a Fort Worth restaurant manager during a botched robbery.
“This is great,” said Staley’s attorney, John Stickels. “I’m very happy.”
Prosecutors contended Staley was competent for execution, but Stickels in his appeal to the court said that was accomplished only because a state judge in Fort Worth improperly ordered Staley be given drugs to make him competent so the state of Texas could kill him.
The appeals court spent much of the ruling’s three pages recounting Staley’s case in the courts and only in a final paragraph specifically addressed the appeal, saying the court had determined the execution should be halted “pending further order by this court.”
It gave no reason. Justice Lawrence Meyers dissented from his eight colleagues but issued no dissenting opinion.
“I don’t know what’s next,” Stickels said. “It just orders the execution stayed and doesn’t order anything else. I’m not going to do anything until they tell me.”
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