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US appeals court weighing Mo. execution stay

By AP/St. Louis Public Radio

ST. LOUIS – A federal appeals court in St. Louis is weighing whether to lift a judge's order delaying a Missouri inmate's scheduled execution for the 1989 abduction, rape and killing of a teenager.

A federal judge in Kansas City on Monday issued a stay for Roderick Nunley, who has been scheduled to be put to death at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.

Nunley's lawyers sought the delay after arguing that a jury and not a judge should have determined Nunley's sentence.

Later Monday, Missouri's attorney general asked the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to clear the way for the execution, arguing that Nunley had years to make such an appeal.

Nunley and accomplice Michael Taylor had hoped to avoid a death sentence when they decided against a jury trial and pleaded guilty in 1991 in the death of 15-year-old Ann Harrison. But both men were sentenced to death.