Judge halts execution of Texas man hours before sentence is carried out

September 14, 2007 03:04

A Texas judge halted the execution of a condemned double-murderer set to die Thursday, marking the second time in two weeks that a capital sentence was blocked in the US's busiest death penalty state. Joseph Lave, 42, who was sentenced to death for his role in a November 1992 store robbery that left two workers dead, would have been the 25th inmate to receive lethal injection this year in Texas. He was the second inmate scheduled to die in the last two weeks under Texas' law of parties, which makes a co-defendant equally culpable even if he was not the actual killer. In an order signed late Wednesday, a state district judge agreed with a request by the Dallas County district attorney's office to halt the execution after the prosecutor's office discovered evidence they believed had been withheld from the condemned man's attorneys. One of Lave's lawyers, David Botsford, said he and Lave were "gratified" by the action.

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