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Federal judge stays Nunley execution

By AP/St. Louis Public Radio

ST. LOUIS – URGENT Federal judge stays Nunley execution Eds: Substitutes second paragraph to restore dropped reference to judge's last name, updates with state AG's office reviewing the ruling. APNewsNow. Will be updated. A federal judge says Missouri must hold off on executing a man condemned in the 1989 killing of a Kansas City-area teenager until issues involving his sentencing are sorted out.

Chief U.S. District Judge Fernando Gaitan Jr. in Kansas City issued the stay Monday in the appeal of Roderick Nunley, scheduled to be put to death at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.

Nunley's lawyers sought the delay after arguing the constitutionality of whether Nunley's sentence should have been determined by a jury, not by a judge, after he pleaded guilty in the 1989 killing of Ann Harrison.

Harrison was waiting for a school bus when she was abducted by Nunley and Michael Taylor, who also is on Missouri's death row. Authorities say she later was raped, then stabbed to death.

A spokeswoman for Missouri's attorney general says that office is reviewing Gaitan's ruling.

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