A federal judge has issued a stay of execution for a man who admitted raping and killing a 15-year-old girl at her southern Indiana home more than a decade ago.
The judge in Evansville granted the request Tuesday from attorneys for 40-year-old Roy Lee Ward, giving them until March 4 to submit an appeal of his conviction and death sentence.
The state Supreme Court had scheduled Ward's execution for next week while acknowledging that federal courts could still review his case.
Ward pleaded guilty in 2007 for the 2001 stabbing death of Stacy Payne at her family's home in Dale, about 30 miles east of Evansville. His first conviction and death sentence was overturned in 2004.
The state Supreme Court upheld his death sentence in a 2009 ruling.