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High court halts execution

Oct. 30, 2007 at 10:55 PM

WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday stopped the state of Mississippi from using lethal injection to execute a death row inmate.

Acting moments before Earl W. Berry was to have been put to death, the nation's highest court said without explanation that its stay will remain in effect until it reviews an appeal filed Monday by his attorneys. The court said on its Web site that Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel A. Alito Jr. dissented.

Berry was convicted of killing a 56-year-old woman 20 years ago and has been on death row ever since.

The Supreme Court provided no indication of when it will review his appeal, but it most likely will not happen before the high court decides a Kentucky case dealing with how judges should evaluate claims that lethal injections can amount to cruel and unusual punishment, The New York Times reported. The Kentucky case is to be heard by the justices in January.

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