- Associated Press - Thursday, April 9, 2015

ST. LOUIS (AP) - The Missouri Supreme Court has vacated an execution order for a former St. Louis jailer sentenced to death for the 2000 murder-for-hire death of his ex-wife, though the reprieve doesn’t spare him the prospect of eventual death by injection.

The high court announced in a three-sentence order late Wednesday that it was scrapping the May 12 execution date it had scheduled for 51-year-old Kimber Edwards. The court did not elaborate, and a spokeswoman said Thursday there would be no explanation offered.

One of Edwards’ appellate attorneys said he believes the reprieve relates to the attorneys’ insistence in a court filing last month that they wouldn’t have enough time to complete a clemency request on Edwards’ behalf because the May execution date conflicted with the timing of other cases they’re handling.

Jeremy Weis said Wednesday’s development had nothing to do with claims about Edwards’ guilt or innocence.

“There’s nothing related to that or pending regarding the specifics of his case,” Weis said. “We didn’t make that an issue.”

Edwards was convicted of hiring Orthell Wilson to kill Kimberly Cantrell, 35, in August 2000 in her apartment in University City, a St. Louis suburb. Prosecutors said Edwards wanted Cantrell dead so he didn’t have to pay child support.

Wilson pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in Cantrell’s death and was sentenced to life in prison.

Edwards contended he was framed and had no motive because the couple had worked out a child support agreement.

It isn’t unusual for the high court to vacate an execution date. The same court, also without explanation, last August canceled an impending execution the next month for Leon Taylor. Attorneys for Taylor, convicted for the 1994 shooting death of a Kansas City-area gas station attendant, had indicated days earlier that they wouldn’t have the time to work on his case before his execution.

In late September the Supreme Court reset Taylor’s execution for Nov. 19, when it was carried out as scheduled.



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