The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has stopped this week's scheduled execution of a convicted killer whose mental health had become an issue in his appeals.
The state's highest criminal court Monday gave a reprieve to 49-year-old Steven Staley.
Staley was set for lethal injection Wednesday for the 1989 shooting death of a Fort Worth Steak & Ale restaurant manager during a botched robbery.
Staley was an escapee from the Denver halfway house when 35-year-old restaurant manager Bob Read of Fort Worth was killed.
Staley and two accomplices took Read hostage, hijacked a car and fled the restaurant. Read was shot in the head, chest and arm after being pulled into the car by Staley. All three were arrested following a high-speed chase.
Prosecutors contend Staley is competent for execution but the prisoner's lawyer said that's only because a judge ordered Staley be given drugs to make him competent.
Staley's attorney also said the prisoner's IQ of 70 likely meant he was mentally impaired and ineligible for execution under Supreme Court rulings.