Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.
For the second time this week, a Texas execution has been stopped days before the man was set to die.
Tilon Carter, 37, received a stay Friday afternoon from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. His execution was set for Tuesday.
Carter was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death for the 2004 death of 89-year-old James Tomlin in his Fort Worth home. Carter and LaKeitha Allen broke into Tomlin’s home, bound him with duct tape and robbed him, according to court records.
Carter has maintained that he never meant for Tomlin to die, that he tied him up and left with the money. But a medical examiner ruled Tomlin died from being smothered, as well as from being tied up and left in a dangerous position.
The stay comes after Carter’s attorney filed a late petition requesting a stay of execution on a technicality: the trial court was a day late in notifying the Office of Capital and Forensic Writs that an execution date had been set.
“This is fairly technical thing, but they did technically violate the law,” said Robin Norris, Carter’s attorney.
According to the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, if the trial court fails to notify the convict’s lawyer and the Office of Capital and Forensic Writs that an execution date was set within two business days of setting it, the court must reset the execution date. In Carter’s case, it took three days.
The trial court had rejected Carter’s request to reset the execution date, stating that even though it took one day more than was required, the execution was still more than 140 days away, longer than the 90 days required between setting an execution date and the actual execution. The Court of Criminal Appeals issued a stay pending its resolution of the issue.
“This is the first case I know of that has actually gone to the Court of Criminal Appeals on this question,” Norris said. “Most of the convicting courts that have been asked in the past to reset an execution date on the grounds that the Office of Capital and Forensics Writs was not notified in a timely matter have just reset the execution on request. But they didn’t do that here.”
The Tarrant County District Attorney's Office could not be reached for comment on the case.
The stay was the second in Texas this week. On Tuesday, a federal district court in Corpus Christi stopped the execution of John Ramirez, which was set for Thursday. The state has executed two people this year.
More news on Texas executions:
- After a nearly four-hour delay while waiting on final appeals in the U.S. Supreme Court, Terry Edwards was executed Jan. 26 for a robbery turned murder he claimed he did not commit.
- The first execution in Texas and the United States, for the killer of two men in Fort Worth after a fake drug deal, was held Jan. 11.