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Man Given a New Execution Date for Laguna Beach Killing

June 13, 1998

Convicted murderer Thomas Thompson, whose trip to San Quentin's death chamber was halted hours before his scheduled execution last year, was given a new execution date Friday.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Robert Fitzgerald signed a warrant for Thompson to die July 14 for the 1981 rape and murder of a woman in Laguna Beach.

On Friday, Fitzgerald overruled objections by Thompson's attorney that the warrant should not be signed while the federal appeal is pending. Lawyer Gregory Long asked the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals last month to consider new evidence that he says shows Thompson's innocence of the rape. The rape was a "special circumstance" that, combined with murder, made Thompson eligible for execution.

Long said Friday that he will file a motion Monday with the 9th Circuit in San Francisco, asking for a stay until the appeal is decided.

That court halted Thompson's death in August just 32 hours before he was to be executed, throwing out the rape conviction. The next day, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review the case, and in April said the execution could proceed.

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