Here is the breaking news this morning from Associated Press,"Federal judge grants stay in Middleton execution," via KHQA-TV.
A federal judge has granted a stay of execution for John Middleton, hours before he is scheduled to be put to death in Missouri.
U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry ruled Tuesday that there was enough question about whether Middleton is insane that a hearing should be held to determine if he should be executed. The U.S. Constitution prohibits executing the mentally ill.
The Missouri Attorney General's office immediately appealed the ruling.
Before the stay was issued, MissouriNet posted, "Sixth execution of year scheduled for tonight," by Bob Priddy. There is audio at the link.
Lawyers for John Middleton have a variety of challenges before courts at various levels in an effort to keep him from being executed tonight.
Middleton is to die for three northwest Missouri murders in 1995. The lethal injection is to start at a minute past midnight tonight. But Middleton’s lawyers question his mental capacity and say he’s not mentally competent to be executed.
Furthermore, says lawyer Joe Perkovich, new evidence suggests that Middleton was in jail in Iowa on the day one of the victims was murdered. And he says there’s a new witness who claims others admitted the murders to him. “In various ways law enforcement were aware of him as a witness and were aware that he had information that was extremely helpful to Mr. Middleton’s defense but suppressed it,” he says.
"Missouri Set to Execute Prisoner Despite Claims of Innocence," is the Democracy Now report, also from earlier this morning.
Missouri is set to execute a prisoner despite newly surfaced evidence that he may be innocent. John Middleton is scheduled to die by lethal injection just after midnight Wednesday for three murders, but his lawyers say new evidence may implicate two other men and prove that on the day of one killing, Middleton was actually 40 miles away in a jail in Iowa. His lawyers have petitioned a federal appeals court to halt the execution.
There have been 24 executions in American death penalty states this year; a total of 1,383 post-Furman executions since 1977.