The state Supreme Court blocked the execution of a man convicted of killing two sisters 15 years ago by dousing them with gasoline and setting them on fire in the basement of the house where he lived.
James Jones scheduled to die by lethal injection next week, was convicted in 1981 in Philadelphia of first-degree murder in the deaths of Karen and Denise Williams.
The state’s highest court granted a delay Thursday to allow the U.S. Supreme Court to consider an appeal.
Jones, 52, was one of the death-row inmates covered by a new law requiring the governor to sign warrants for cases within 90 days of their receipt from the state Supreme Court.
Since taking office in January, Gov. Tom Ridge has signed 15 execution warrants, including Jones’. Pennsylvania’s first execution in 33 years was carried out May 2. Nine executions are pending and five have been blocked by the courts.