Federal Appeals Court Upholds Stay of Execution for Texas Inmate Jedidiah Murphy

Federal Appeals Court Upholds Stay of Execution for Texas Inmate Jedidiah Murphy

A federal appeals court has upheld a ruling delaying the execution of Texas inmate Jedidiah Murphy, who was scheduled to be put to death on Tuesday for the 2000 murder of Bertie Lee Cunningham. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals supported a previous order by a federal judge in Austin, which stayed Murphy’s execution after his lawyers filed a lawsuit seeking DNA testing of evidence related to his trial. The court cited a similar case involving another Texas death row inmate as a reason for the stay.

Murphy’s attorneys have raised concerns about the evidence presented during his trial, particularly regarding two robberies and a kidnapping that were used to establish his future dangerousness. They argue that DNA testing could help prove his innocence in these additional crimes. U.S. District Court Judge Robert Pitman granted the stay, stating that the negation of this evidence could have influenced the jury’s decision during the punishment phase.

The Texas Attorney General’s Office had sought to overturn the stay order but has not yet commented on whether they will appeal the ruling. Last week, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles unanimously declined to commute Murphy’s death sentence or grant a reprieve.

Murphy’s lawyers also filed a separate lawsuit alleging that the execution drugs were unsafe due to exposure to extreme heat and smoke during a fire at a prison unit in Huntsville. However, Judge Pitman denied this request, stating that test results showed the drugs were potent and sterile.

If the execution had proceeded as scheduled, it would have taken place on World Day Against the Death Penalty. Murphy, who is Jewish, has expressed remorse for the crime and has a history of mental illness and childhood abuse.

The case remains ongoing as the court considers the DNA testing request and further legal proceedings.


Author: CrimeDoor

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