HUNTSVILLE, Texas – A man condemned for killing his parents avoided the nation’s busiest death chamber Thursday night when he won a reprieve from the U.S. Supreme Court, which had already agreed to review another state’s lethal injection procedures.
Attorneys for Carlton Turner Jr., 28, had appealed to the high court hoping that the justices’ review of lethal injection procedures in Kentucky, a decision announced this week, could keep him alive.
In a brief order, the court said it had granted his stay of execution but made no mention of its reasons for stopping the punishment. The order came less than two hours before the death warrant would have expired at midnight CDT.
“All I can say is all glory to God,” Turner told prison officials as he was being returned to death row.
The order followed a decision earlier in the day by Alabama Gov. Bob Riley to stay the execution of a contract killer hours before it was to have been carried out, so the inmate could be put to death using a new lethal injection formula the governor had ordered just a day before.
After state courts earlier Thursday refused to halt the punishment, Turner’s lawyers went to the Supreme Court, which on Tuesday agreed to review an appeal from two condemned inmates in Kentucky who argued that the three-drug process used in lethal injection is unconstitutionally cruel. The same procedure is used in Texas.