Condemned prison inmate Russell Bucklew remains in a holding cell about fifty feet from the execution chamber at the Bonne Terre prison. He was to have been executed at 12:01 today but the U. S. Supreme Court issued a stay about 10:30 p.m. It will consider an appeal today that a vascular condition would cause Bucklew to suffer unconstitutional pain if he is executed.
The death warrant is good for this entire day. Corrections officials say he could be executed within an hour if the court rules against Bucklew.
Bucklew is under a death sentence for murdering his former girlfriend’s boyfriend in 1996 in Cape Girardeau. He kidnapped the woman and raped her before he was caught and wounded in a shootout with Highway Patrol troopers.
This is the third time in the last six months that the U. S. Supreme Court has issued late stays for Missouri executions. In the previous two instances, the stays have been lifted late in the day and the inmates have been executed.