Supreme Court Stays Execution

Handout / AP Photo

This undated handout photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows Duane Buck. Defense attorneys are calling on Texas Gov. Rick Perry to halt the execution of Buck who is scheduled to be put to death Thursday because jurors heard testimony during sentencing in his 1997 trial that blacks are more likely to pose future dangers to the public.

The U.S. Supreme Court granted a temporary execution stay to Duane Buck late Thursday, the same night the Texas man had been set to die by lethal injection for two murders in 1995. Buck’s reprieve was granted two hours into a six-hour window when he could have been taken to the death chamber, and he had already eaten his scheduled last meal when his lawyers told him the news. Buck’s lawyers had based their argument on a 2000 declaration by then-Attorney General John Cornyn that Buck was one of six capital murder trials that may have been tainted by racial testimony from a psychologist. Buck was convicted in 1995 of murdering his former girlfriend, Debra Gardner as well as her friend, Kenneth Butler, and also of shooting his sister, Phyllis Taylor—who recovered and later became an advocate to save his life.