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Appeals court stays Texas’ first scheduled 2021 execution

January 16, 2021 GMT

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A Texas appeals court has delayed what would have been the first execution scheduled in the state this year.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Friday granted the stay for Blaine Milam, 31, to review intellectual disability claims.

He had been set for lethal injection on Thursday for killing his girlfriend’s 13-month-old daughter during what the couple had said was part of an “exorcism.” He was convicted of capital murder for the December 2008 slaying of Amora Carson at his trailer in Rusk County in East Texas.

Milam’s girlfriend, Jesseca Carson, was also convicted of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

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Prosecutors say Milam savagely beat, bit, strangled, and sexually mutilated the girl over a period of 30 hours.

Milam’s attorneys say three of four experts who examined him determined Milam is intellectually disabled. In its ruling, the appeals court ordered Milam’s claims of intellectual disability be reviewed by his trial court.

The U.S, Supreme Court in 2002 barred the execution of intellectually disabled people, but it has given states some discretion to decide how to determine such disabilities.