Execution delayed for Florida inmate in slaying of police officer | VailDaily.com

Execution delayed for Florida inmate in slaying of police officer

STARKE, Fla. – A death row inmate won a stay from the Supreme Court Tuesday night about an hour after he was scheduled to be executed for killing a police officer.Clarence Hill claimed he is mentally retarded and also challenged the state’s use of execution drugs as cruel.It was not clear if the court’s intervention would only briefly delay Hill’s execution, which had been scheduled for 6 p.m., to give justices additional time to review stay requests.Witnesses had gathered at the Florida State Prison for the execution, which was put off for more than an hour before word came from the court.The witnesses were sent home after Justice Anthony M. Kennedy filed paperwork that said Hill’s death sentence would “be stayed pending further order” of the justices.”The court will not rule until tomorrow,” said Robby Cunningham, spokesman for the Florida Department of Corrections.D. Todd Doss, Hill’s attorney, expressed relief. “The important thing is he’s still alive tonight,” he said.Earlier, Hill lost appeals at the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. He was scheduled to die for the October 1982 slaying of a Pensacola police officer and the wounding of his partner.Hill was to be the 61st inmate executed in Florida since 1976, when executions resumed after a 12-year moratorium.In one of his appeals, Hill, 48, asked for a delay to give him time to contest the chemicals that will be used. Kennedy cited that case in granting the stay.Hill’s lawyers argue that the three chemicals used in Florida’s lethal injection method cause pain, making his execution cruel and unusual punishment.—Associated Press Writer Gina Holland in Washington contributed to this report.Vail, Colorado

Support Local Journalism