US Supreme Court orders halt of Texas execution

High court delays execution of Lester Brown while it considers his appeal

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The US Supreme Court on Thursday delayed the execution of one of Texas’ longest-serving death row prisoners as the high court makes up its mind on his appeal claiming his 30 years on death row constitute cruel and unusual punishment.

This is the second motion to halt executions by the Supreme Court in as many months.

Lester Bower was set to be executed on 10 February for the murders of four men in a Texas airplane hangar in 1983, according to a report from Reuters. He has been on death row since his conviction and his appeal claims that he’s faced imminent execution six different times.


Bower’s lawyers for more than 20 years have been trying to get his conviction overturned, saying that he was found guilty due to faulty testimony. Bower continues to deny even being at the hangar when the crimes took place, but investigators found evidence from the hangar at his house.

The next time the Supreme Court will discuss new cases in on 20 February, though it’s not clear if Bower's case is among those they will discuss immediately.

Last month, the Supreme Court delayed three executions in Oklahoma while it considers if one of the drugs used in lethal injections – midazolam – constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. Midazolam is used as a sedative, but opponents of its use say it’s not strong enough to block the pain from the two subsequent drugs.

The Supreme Court is slated to take up the Oklahoma case at some point this summer.


Follow Payton Guion on Twitter @PaytonGuion.