ST. LOUIS – A federal judge has granted a stay of execution for John Middleton, hours before he is scheduled to be put to death in Missouri.
U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry ruled Tuesday that there was enough question about Middleton’s sanity that a hearing should determine if he should be executed. The U.S. Constitution prohibits executing the mentally ill.
The Missouri Attorney General’s office initially said it was appealing, then clarified that the ruling was being reviewed.
Middleton was a northern Missouri methamphetamine dealer convicted of killing three people in 1995 because he feared they would go to police. He would be the sixth Missouri inmate executed this year.
In a separate ruling late Monday, a court of appeals refused to halt the execution because of Middleton’s assertion that he is innocent.