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Stay of execution granted for Ohio killer

LUCASVILLE, Ohio, June 6 (UPI) -- Ohio Gov. John Kasich granted a two-week stay of execution for a man convicted of shooting his wife and brother-in-law in a courthouse 20 years ago.

The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reported Lebanese-born Abdul Awkal, 53, was scheduled to face execution by lethal injection at a prison in Lucasville Wednesday. He arrived at the prison Tuesday evening, however, the reprieve was granted before he could be served his last meal.

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Awkal's lawyers argue their client is mentally ill and unaware of his punishment, and thus cannot be executed. In the motion filed to stay the execution, they said Awkal believes himself to be working with the CIA in the war on terror, and the agency is executing him because it is unhappy with him.

Prosecutors counter Awkal is a known liar, who has acknowledged his death sentence to mental health professionals in the past, proving he is aware of his punishment.

Awkal was convicted for the shooting of his wife, Latife Awkal, and her brother Mahmoud Abdul-Aziz, in Domestic Relations Court. Latife had filed for a divorce after she discovered her husband had given her a venereal disease.

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After the shooting, Awkal picked up his infant daughter. When police confronted him, he put the gun to his head and then to the baby's head, threatening to kill her and then himself. "Awkal vowed that nobody was going to take his baby," court papers said.

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