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April 20, 2014

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US Supreme Court orders stay of execution

Updated Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014 | 7:35 p.m.

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court has granted a stay of execution for Missouri death row inmate Herbert Smulls.

Justice Samuel Alito signed the order that was sent out Tuesday night after President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech.

Smulls' lawyers had made last-minute pleas Tuesday to spare his life, focusing on the state's refusal to disclose from which compounding pharmacy they obtain the lethal-injection drug, pentobarbital. Missouri has argued the compounding pharmacy is part of the execution team — and therefore its name cannot be released to the public.

Smulls was convicted and sentenced to death for killing a St. Louis County jeweler and badly injuring his wife during a 1991 robbery.

The 56-year-old had been scheduled for lethal injection at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.