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Scott granted last-minute stay

The Associated Press

LUCASVILLE, Ohio – A schizophrenic killer was expected back on death row Wednesday after a last-minute stay from a court delayed his execution for the second time in a month.

Wednesday, May 16, 2001

LUCASVILLE, Ohio – A schizophrenic killer was expected back on death row Wednesday after a last-minute stay from a court delayed his execution for the second time in a month.

The execution was delayed Tuesday when a member of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals asked that all of its 11 active judges consider Jay D. Scott’s request for a stay, said Joe Case, spokesman for Attorney General Betty Montgomery.

The court issued the stay 10 minutes before the 9 p.m. execution time. Scott and his attorneys were told three minutes before the scheduled execution. About two hours earlier, a three-judge panel of the appeals court had decided to allow the execution to proceed.

Scott was sitting 35 feet from the execution chamber with the shunts that would carry the lethal injection stuck in his arm veins.

He washed up at 8:10 p.m., changed his clothes, and spent the two hours before the execution time mostly in prayer with his Islamic spiritual adviser, said his attorney John Pyle.

Scott was confused by what a ”stay” meant, then was relieved and a bit stunned when they explained it was a delay, Pyle said.

”He said he was happy just to have another day,” Pyle said.

”He said he was going to cherish every moment that he has,” said Scott’s other attorney, Tim Sweeney.

Thunder cracked and lightning flashed across the sky outside the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility following the court’s stay. Rain then poured down on death penalty protesters outside the prison who applauded at the execution delay.

Scott, 48, was sentenced to die for the murder of Vinney Prince, 70, during a robbery at her Cleveland delicatessen in 1983.

Scott remained in the cell following the announcement of the stay and the shunts were removed from his arms. He was expected to be transported back to death row at Mansfield Correctional Institution on Wednesday.

It was the second time that Scott came within minutes of execution. The Ohio Supreme Court delayed his execution on April 17 with 65 minutes to spare.

Scott on Tuesday ate fried fish with hot sauce and drank a Pepsi in what was to be his last meal, said prison spokesman Gerald Clay.

In April, Scott had selected cheeseburgers, french fries and Pepsi as his last meal, but he did not eat the meal.

Several relatives visited Scott on Tuesday, including his son, Antwine Taylor.

Late in the afternoon, Scott’s son emerged from the prison and showed reporters a picture of his father and himself that was taken Tuesday. Taylor said his father was doing well.

”It’s like a countdown to something that’s disastrous,” Taylor, 29, said several hours before the scheduled execution time.

The delay Tuesday night was not requested by Scott’s attorneys. After a three-judge federal panel had ruled, his attorney said he would not pursue further appeals.

The appeals panel earlier Tuesday night had ruled against Scott’s claim that he was denied due process by being required to prove whether he was competent to face execution.

Also Tuesday, Gov. Bob Taft denied Scott’s request to reconsider clemency or a seven-day reprieve.

”This second, last-minute delay is very troubling. This case has been exhaustively reviewed from every court at every angle. It is difficult to understand the justification for further delay,” Taft said Tuesday night.

Scott’s lawyers had argued it would be cruel and unusual punishment to execute an inmate with a severe mental illness. They also argued Ohio does not have sufficient procedures to protect a defendant’s right to avoid execution based on mental incompetence.

Scott had run out of appeals on the merit of his conviction and death sentence. He was expected to become the first Ohio inmate to be executed against his will in 38 years.

Wilford Berry in 1999 became the first Ohio prisoner to be put to death since 1963. Berry had been dubbed ”The Volunteer” because he had dropped his appeals and asked to be executed.