Texas death row inmate gets reprieve

June 29, 2004 at 5:20 PM
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HUNTSVILLE, Texas, June 29 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday granted a reprieve to a Texas death row inmate about four hours before he was to receive a lethal injection.

Mauro Barraza, 32, smiled when he was informed about the court action, prison spokeswoman Michelle Lyons said.

"Man, that's good news," he said, before being returned to the death row.

It was the second execution date for Barraza, who was 17 when he murdered Vilore Nelson in 1989 at Haltom City. Barraza has said he was high on cocaine when he raped and killed the 73-year-old woman

Scott Schutte, Barraza's lawyer, had asked the high court to delay his client's execution until it rules on the constitutionality of executing people for crimes committed when they were under the age of 18. They are scheduled to hear the case this fall.

Barraza would have been the ninth murderer executed this year in Texas.

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