Monday, 22 January 2007

Death row dean wins reprieve from Thursday execution

Death row dean wins reprieve from Thursday execution

Associated Press

Texas' longest-serving condemned prisoner, set to die this week after more than 31 years on death row, won a reprieve Monday from the U.S. Supreme Court.

Ronald Chambers, who turned 52 two weeks ago, was scheduled for lethal injection Thursday, but his punishment was delayed indefinitely by an order from Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

"We are grateful for the stay," James Volberding, Chambers' lawyer, said. "We did not know whether the Supreme Court would grant one."

Chambers' attorneys had asked the high court to postpone his execution until they rule on another Texas capital case that raises questions about whether jurors were properly instructed to consider mitigating factors when deciding a death sentence. Arguments in those three related cases were held last week in Washington.

"Chambers has the same issues," Volberding said.

Chambers was condemned for the abduction and fatal shooting of Mike McMahan, 22, a Texas Tech student from Washington state, during an April 1975 carjacking in Dallas.

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