A Texas appeals court has delayed a second execution this year to review claims that the man condemned for the 2004 suffocation of a retired 77-year-old TCU professor is intellectually disabled and thus ineligible for the death penalty.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Wednesday granted a request by attorneys for Edward Lee Busby to stay his execution, which had been scheduled for Feb. 10.
Busby’s attorneys have argued he has shown “significant limitations in intellectual functioning.”
The U.S. Supreme Court in 2002 barred the execution of intellectually disabled people, but it has given states some discretion to decide how to determine such disabilities.
Busby’s execution would have been the first in the state this year after the appeals court last month delayed the Jan. 21 lethal injection of Blaine Milam to review his intellectual disability claims.
Busby, 48, was convicted of the slaying of 77-year-old Laura Lee Crane, who was abducted from a Fort Worth grocery store parking lot and later found dead in Oklahoma.
Texas’ first execution of 2021 is now set for March 4, with Ramiro Ibarra set to receive a lethal injection for the 1987 sexual assault and strangulation of a 16-year-old girl in Waco.