U.S. Supreme Court grants Texas man stay of execution

AUSTIN, Texas — A Texas man scheduled to be put to death Tuesday received a stay of execution from the U.S. Supreme Court.

It was granted after assertions that inmate Cleve Foster's state-appointed lawyers were ineffective and prevented him from raising claims of innocence.

"I'm thrilled that the Supreme Court stayed Mr. Foster's execution and that they will be looking at the important issues raised," said Maurie Levin, Foster's attorney.

Texas, which executes more inmates than any other state, has 30 days to respond to Foster's petition for a rehearing. The stay, Levin said, is unrelated to her concerns about the process Texas used to redesign the state's execution drug protocol.

Foster, 47, convicted for the rape and murder nine years ago of Nyanuer "Mary" Pal, 28, was to have been the first person executed in Texas using a sedative often used to euthanize animals.

The drug pentobarbital is to replace sodium thiopental in Texas' three-drug execution protocol.

The change was necessary because Hospira Inc. of Illinois announced in January that it would stop making sodium thiopental. That caused a shortage of the drug throughout the United States.

Ohio and Oklahoma have already switched to use of pentobarbital in executions.

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