The Georgia Supreme Court on Monday temporarily granted a stay of execution for Warren Lee Hill, saying it needs to examine the method of execution.
“We are so happy to share that the Georgia Supreme Court has halted the scheduled execution of Warren Hill tonight. Again, no execution will happen tonight in Georgia. Rejoice!”, read a statement from Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.
Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, a coalition of organizations working to end capital punishment, has been fighting to save Hill because they say Hill has “undisputed intellectual disability.”
For more than a decade, Hill’s lawyers have sought to halt the execution on grounds the 52-year-old is mentally disabled. But Monday, with less than two hours to spare, the state high court unanimously granted the stay to determine whether a recent change to Georgia’s lethal-injection protocol violates state law. The court agreed to hear Hill’s appeal of a Fulton County judge’s decision issued earlier in the day.
Separately, by a 6-1 vote, the court declined to hear Hill’s appeal challenging the state’s standard to determine whether an inmate is mentally disabled and thus ineligible for execution. Justice Robert Benham, the lone dissenter, said he would not allow the execution because Hill has been found to have a mental disability.
“I’m just profoundly grateful the Supreme Court granted this stay,” Brian Kammer, one of Hill’s lawyers, told AJC.com. “A terrible miscarriage of justice was avoided, for now.”
Had Hill’s execution gone forward, it would of been Georgia’s first since the state executed Troy Anthony Davis.