JACKSON, Miss. (AP, abc24.com) - Mississippi corrections officials said they were preparing to execute death row inmate Edwin Hart Turner on Wednesday evening after a federal appeals court vacated an order blocking his execution.
U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves in Jackson had issued an order on Monday that had blocked the execution until Feb. 20. But Attorney General Jim Hood filed an appeal Tuesday with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
The appeals court ruled in Hood's favor Wednesday morning and lifted the stay.
The execution is scheduled for 6 p.m. CST Wednesday.
Turner's lawyer, James Craig, had persuaded Reeves to temporarily block the execution after arguing that a Mississippi Department of Corrections policy prevented Turner from getting tests that could prove he was mentally ill when he killed two men during robberies in 1995.
A separate petition was filed last week with the U.S. Supreme Court.
The petition contended that Mississippi is one of 10 states that permit someone who suffered from serious mental illness at the time of the offense to be executed. Turner's lawyers want the court to prohibit the execution of mentally ill people as it did for inmates considered mentally retarded.
There's little dispute that Turner killed two men while robbing gas stations, then went home and had a meal of shrimp and cinnamon rolls before going to sleep.
Turner's lawyers argued in the petition to the U.S. Supreme Court that he inherited a serious mental illness. They argued that his father is thought to have committed suicide by shooting a gun into a shed filled with dynamite and his grandmother and great-grandmother both spent time in the state mental hospital.
Turner is severely disfigured from a self-inflicted gunshot wound suffered when he was 18, when he put a rifle in his mouth and pulled the trigger.