HUNTSVILLE, Texas — A white supremacist convicted of killing a man in 1991 won a reprieve from the U.S. Supreme Court two hours before his scheduled execution Tuesday.
The court halted the execution after attorneys for Brian Davis, 33, said he is mentally retarded. The court has stopped a number of executions as it considers a Virginia case that challenges the constitutionality of executing retarded inmates. A ruling is expected before July.
Davis denied killing Michael Foster, 31, who met Davis and Davis' wife at a Houston bar. Davis said his wife was responsible for stabbing Foster 11 times and beating and robbing him after they drove him home.
Davis said his wife also used a pen to inscribe on Foster's abdomen a swastika and the letters "NSSH," which stood for National Society of Skinheads.
Davis' now ex-wife, Tina McDonald, 31, has denied his claims. She is serving 40 years in prison for aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon and auto theft in an unrelated case.
Roe Wilson, a Harris County assistant district attorney who handles capital case appeals, said nothing in the case suggests Davis is mentally retarded.