Federal judge grants stay of Nevada execution

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CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — A federal judge in Nevada has called off the Feb. 1 execution of a condemned inmate who came within 34 minutes of being put to death in 2005.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Jones in Reno issued an order Friday blocking the execution of 37-year-old Robert Lee McConnell pending a hearing on an appeal McConnell filed two days earlier.

Nevada corrections spokeswoman Suzanne Pardee said Monday she had no immediate confirmation of the stay. Monday was the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

McConnell was convicted in Washoe County District Court of the 2002 murder of his ex-girlfriend’s fiance and of raping the woman at her Sun Valley home.

McConnell, a former auto salesman, was granted a reprieve shortly before he was scheduled to die in June 2005.