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A Missouri inmate was scheduled to be executed tonight, but a U.S. Supreme Court Justice brought a halt to the execution.
According to the Associated Press, there was no explanation why Justice Samuel Alito made the decision. His order, however, was granted after the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had lifted the stay of execution that had been given earlier today.
NBC News reports that Russell Bucklew has a birth defect that would make his execution “excruciating.” Bucklew is on death row for the murder of a man and the kidnapping and rape of his ex-girlfriend, who had fled to the man’s home for protection from Bucklew.
Bucklew has a condition called cavernous hemangioma, in which tumors are created on both the head and neck. The argument was that the tumors would cause the drug to stay in his system longer, thus causing his death to take much longer, which would be akin to cruel and unusual punishment.
Another inmate named Clayton Lockett faced lethal injection in Oklahoma, but his execution went wrong. An investigation is still being conducted into what occurred.
The male victim’s families are understandably upset at the situation.
NBC News reported Bucklew’s case would be reviewed on Wednesday by the full court.