Court Stops Texas Execution With Just Hours to Spare

Lawyers for Robert James Campbell will get time to prove he has 'intellectual disability'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 13, 2014 5:30 PM CDT
Robert James Campbell   (Texas corrections department)

(Newser) – The nation's first execution since Oklahoma's botched one won't take place this evening after all, but this time the issue isn't about the drugs involved, reports CNN. A federal appeals court in Texas stayed the execution of Robert James Campbell, ruling that his lawyers deserve more time to make the case that he is mildly retarded and thus ineligible for the death penalty. The ruling came about two hours and 30 minutes before the 41-year-old rapist and murderer was to be taken to the death chamber.

"It is regrettable that we are now reviewing evidence of intellectual disability at the eleventh hour before Campbell's scheduled execution," wrote the justices. "However, from the record before us, it appears that we cannot fault Campbell or his attorneys, present or past, for the delay." Campbell has an IQ of 69, and the AP reports that courts generally set 70 as the minimum threshold for execution. Campbell's lawyers actually filed two appeals, the other one arguing that the execution shouldn't go forward because Texas will not reveal the source of its lethal drugs. But the same court rejected that appeal last night. Campbell abducted and murdered bride-to-be Alexandra Rendon in 1991, and the 20-year-old was buried in her wedding dress.

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