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Texas Death Row Inmate Wins Stay Of Execution
A convicted killer has won a stay of execution hours before he was to face the death chamber in Texas, after his legal team appealed that he was not mentally competent.
Robert James Campbell, 41, deserves more time to demonstrate that his IQ is too low for him to face capital punishment, ruled the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
"It is regrettable that we are now reviewing evidence of intellectual disability at the eleventh hour before Campbell's scheduled execution," the court said.
"However, from the record before us, it appears that we cannot fault Campbell or his attorneys, present or past, for the delay."
Earlier the prisoner, who raped and killed a Houston bank clerk in January 1991, lost another appeal against his execution in the same federal court.
His lawyers had cited last month's bungled execution in Oklahoma of Clayton Lockett, whose vein collapsed during his lethal injection, forcing prison officials to halt the procedure midway.
Lockett appeared to be in significant pain throughout the procedure and eventually died of an apparent heart attack, writhing on a gurney.
Campbell, who had also been due to die by lethal injection, had sought a stay of execution on the grounds that he may be subjected to an execution as painful as the one suffered by Lockett. President Barack Obama had called Lockett's execution "inhumane".
But the appeal lodged by Campbell's lawyers on those grounds was denied, however the court has granted the stay because of his mental health.
Oklahoma has agreed to a six-month stay of execution for another inmate, a baby murderer, while the state reviews its procedures following the death of Lockett.
Campbell was convicted of murdering 20-year-old Alexandra Rendon, whom he abducted while she was putting petrol into her car before robbing, raping and shooting her dead.
She was buried in her recently purchased wedding dress for her marriage.