Georgia death row inmate Warren Lee Hill
ATLANTA -- The Supreme Court of Georgia has unanimously agreed to hear an appeal that stopped the execution of a death row inmate.
Warren Lee Hill was scheduled to die by lethal injection on July 19. Hours before the execution, a Fulton County Superior Court judge issued an injunction.
TIMELINE | The Warren Lee Hill case
Judge Gail Tusan argued that more time was needed to examine the constitutionality of new statutes about the drug used in Georgia's lethal injections.
Granting the request for an appeal means Georgia's high court will address four questions:
* Is the case moot since the current supply of pentobarbital (the execution drug) has expired and it is unclear how the state would obtain a new supply of execution drugs?
* Did the Fulton County Superior Court have the authority to stay Hill's execution?
* Could the whole issue of the statute's constitutionality be avoided if Hill were given a sample of the drug for testing or given other information the statute does not prohibit?
* Did Judge Tusan err by issuing the stay based on Hill's challenge of the statute's constitutionality?
Hill, 53, was sentenced to death in 1991 after murdering a fellow inmate by attacking him with a nail-studded board. At the time, he was serving a life sentence for shooting his 18-year-old girlfriend to death in 1986.
His defense attorneys have said that Hill is mentally retarded and therefore ineligible for the death penalty. That argument caused a February execution date to be postponed.
The Georgia Supreme Court expects to hear the case in the next several months.