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The U.S. Supreme Court temporary halts the execution of a Georgia inmate who argues that a racist juror influenced the death penalty verdict at his trial, Washington Post reports.

Keith Leroy Tharpe, 59, was scheduled to die by lethal injection at 7 p.m. Tuesday, after the Georgia Supreme Court declined, in a 6 to 3 vote, to stop his execution.

Officials delayed administering the lethal cocktail of drugs while the nation’s highest court considered Tharpe’s case. At 11 p.m. the justices announced the temporary stay.

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“I’m glad they’re willing to take the time to consider these serious issues in Mr. Tharpe’s case,” the inmate’s attorney Brian Kammer told the Associated Press.

A jury convicted Tharpe for the 1990 murder of his sister-in-law, Jaquelyn Freeman.

The fatal shooting stemmed from Tharpe pursuing his estranged wife, who walked out on him and took their four daughters. Using a barrowed truck, Tharpe blocked the vehicle that his wife and Freeman were driving and confronted the women, fatally shooting his sister-in-law.

Long after his trial, Tharpe’s legal team interviewed Barney Gattie, a White juror from his trial. Gattie referred to Tharpe using the N-word and made other racist remarks during the interview. Gattie, who is now deceased, later denied that he’s a racist.

The Post reported that Tharpe’s clemency application states that the inmate abused alcohol from age 10 and later developed a crack cocaine addiction. His attorney assured the justices that their client has deep remorse for killing Freeman and has overcome his additions while in prison. Additionally, he’s now a deeply spiritual man who seeks to help others.

SOURCE:  Washington Post, Associated Press

SEE ALSO:

Innocent Blacks More Likely Than Whites To Be Wrongfully Convicted: Report

Missouri Governor Halts Execution After New DNA Evidence Raises Questions

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