The United States Supreme Court halted the execution of Ernest Lee Johnson on Tuesday evening, just as Johnson was set to be killed by the state of Missouri for the 1994 murder of three convenience store workers in central Missouri who were beaten to death with a claw hammer during a robbery.

BREAKING: #SCOTUS grants stay of execution to Ernest Johnson in Missouripic.twitter.com/INTYXOzjUw

— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) November 4, 2015

The legal stay was granted by the Supreme Court as Johnson, who his lawyer says is mentally disabled, appeals his execution before the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. Johnson argues the execution drug could cause painful seizures because he still has part of a benign tumor in his brain. Surgery to cut out remaining parts of the tumor in 2008 forced doctors to remove up to 20% of his brain tissue. (According to the Death Penalty Information Center, Missouri has been using pentobarbital as a single-drug method of execution since November 2013.) Read more…

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