Virginia governor delays April 8 execution

April 1, 2008 at 4:05 PM
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RICHMOND, Va., April 1 (UPI) -- Virginia Gov. Timothy Kaine Tuesday issued a temporary stay of execution, awaiting the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the constitutionality of lethal injection.

Kaine's action came in the case of Edward Nathaniel Bell, who had been scheduled for execution April 8. Kaine postponed the execution date to July 24. Another Virginia inmate, Christopher Scott Emmett, had been scheduled for execution Oct. 17, but his date was stayed by the high court.

"This temporary reprieve will allow for issuance of the Supreme Court decision and consideration of whether its outcome has any effect upon the merits of Mr. Bell's legal claims or request for clemency," Kaine said in a press release.

The Supreme Court decided to take up the death penalty issue last September and a ruling is expected before the end of its current term. Kaine noted some 30 executions in 13 states have been postponed, pending the court's decision.

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