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Murderer Wins Stay of Execution

ATMORE, Ala. — James Harvey Callahan, sentenced to death for the murder of a woman abducted from a coin laundry, won a reprieve from the U.S. Supreme Court a little more than an hour before he was scheduled to die by lethal injection. The Supreme Court’s brief order did not detail why it granted the stay.This would have been the nation’s first execution since September, when the high court agreed to consider whether lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment.Callahan, an Alabama inmate, was sentenced for the 1982 murder of Rebecca Suzanne Howell, a Jacksonville State University student who was abucted from a coin laundry and raped before being strangled and dumped in a creek.Callahan, who has been on death row for more than 25 years, met with some relatives as his execution neared. He had a cheeseburger and a Coke for what would have been his last meal.It was a tale of different emotions for family members. Callahan’s family members were overjoyed when told of the stay, the warden said. However, the victim’s mother and sister, who had arrived to witness the execution, only to learn of the stay, talked about the stay as being cruel and unusual, according to a prison system spokesman. 

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