Attorney general not appealing stay on Stacey Johnson's execution to U.S. Supreme Court

Arkansas Supreme Court issues stay for inmate Stacey Johnson.

LITTLE ROCK (AP/KATV) -- Arkansas' attorney general will not appeal death row inmate Stacey Johnson's stay of execution to the U.S. Supreme Court at this time.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge tweeting her decision Thursday afternoon, after the Arkansas Supreme Court denied her request for reconsideration of the stay on Johnson's execution, which was scheduled for Thursday night.

On Wednesday, the Arkansas Supreme Court halted Stacey Johnson's execution, saying the condemned inmate should have a chance to prove his innocence with more DNA testing.

Stacey Johnson claims that advanced DNA techniques could show that he didn't kill Carol Heath, a 25-year-old mother of two, in 1993 at her southwest Arkansas apartment.

In a 4-3 ruling late Wednesday afternoon, the state's highest court issued a stay for Johnson and ordered a new hearing in lower court for Johnson to make his claims.

Johnson was set for execution Thursday night along with inmate Ledell Lee, who is also seeking a stay in a separate case.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued the following statement in reference to the court decision:

"The Arkansas Supreme Court in 2004 unanimously rejected an identical argument brought by Inmate Stacey Johnson, but today, by a vote of four to three, the Court has without legal explanation blocked the execution of an individual sentenced by two different juries. I know that this is disappointing and difficult for Carol Heath’s family and her two children who were home at the time of the murder. I am evaluating options on how to proceed to ensure that justice is carried out.”

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