- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 3, 2015

ST. LOUIS (AP) - The latest on the scheduled execution of Ernest Lee Johnson in Missouri (all times local):

10 p.m.

The execution of a Missouri man is off for Tuesday and appears unlikely to happen Wednesday, either.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday night granted a stay of execution for Ernest Lee Johnson, who was convicted of beating three people to death with a claw hammer. The case was sent back to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Johnson claims that the execution drug could cause painful seizures because he still has part of a benign tumor in his brain, and surgery to remove the rest of the tumor in 2008 forced the removal of up to 20 percent of his brain tissue.

Missouri Department of Corrections spokesman Mike O’Connell sent media witnesses home for the night late Tuesday, saying it wasn’t clear when the appeals court would take up the case. O’Connell says there is no indication that the courts will resolve the matter before 6 p.m. Wednesday. If it isn’t resolved by then, a new execution date would have to be set.

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7 p.m.

The U.S. Supreme Court has put on hold the scheduled execution of a man convicted of beating three people to death with a claw hammer while a lower court considers an appeal.

Ernest Lee Johnson was scheduled to die at 6 p.m. Tuesday for killing three Columbia convenience store workers in 1994. The U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay while the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals considers an appeal.

Johnson claims that the execution drug could cause painful seizures because Johnson still has part of a benign tumor in his brain, and surgery to remove the rest of the tumor in 2008 forced removal of up to 20 percent of his brain tissue.

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11 a.m.

Death penalty opponents plan vigils at several locations around Missouri on Tuesday as the state prepares for its seventh execution of 2015.

Ernest Lee Johnson is scheduled to die at 6 p.m. for killing three Columbia convenience store workers in 1994. An appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court claims the execution drug could cause painful seizures because Johnson still has part of a benign tumor in his brain, and surgery to remove the rest of the tumor in 2008 forced removal of up to 20 percent of his brain tissue. A separate appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court claims Johnson has an IQ of 67 and his life should be spared because he is mentally disabled.

Only Texas, with 12, has performed more executions than Missouri this year.

12:45 a.m.

Missouri is set to execute a man convicted of beating three people to death with a claw hammer during a robbery in Columbia in 1994.

Ernest Lee Johnson is scheduled to die Tuesday evening and would be the seventh person put to death in Missouri this year.

Johnson had part of a benign brain tumor removed in 2008, and a recent MRI revealed up to 20 percent of his brain tissue was also removed. An appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court claims the tumor and damage, combined with the execution drug, could cause a painful seizure. A second appeal, to the Missouri Supreme Court, claims Johnson’s life should be spared because he is mentally disabled.

The Missouri Attorney General’s office says both claims are without merit.

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