The U.S. Supreme Court ordered a last-minute stay for a Missouri death row inmate who was scheduled to die one minute after midnight Wednesday morning.
Herbert Smulls won the temporary stay on his lawyer's claim that the state refused to disclose which pharmacy was tapped to supply the drug used for lethal injections, pentobarbital, The Associated Press reported. Missouri officials declined to release the name because they say the pharmacy is part of the execution team and is therefore protected.
Justice Samuel Alito signed the stay order just after President Obama took the stage for his State of the Union — and about 2½ hours before Smulls was supposed to die, AP reported.
Smulls, 56, was sentenced to death for killing a jeweler and injuring his wife during a robbery in 1991.
His attorney said, AP reported: "We're happy to get the stay, and we're glad the court is reviewing it."
The Supreme Court is due to take up the case for further review Wednesday, and if justices find in favor of the state, Smulls could be executed within hours.
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