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US Supreme Court stays an execution in Missouri

WASHINGTON--The U.S. Supreme Court ordered a last minute stay of execution for a convicted murderer and rapist who argued that a rare medical condition risked making the lethal injection unconstitutional.

The temporary ruling came after a flurry of last minute proceedings by both sides before a lower court.

But the inmate could still be executed by lethal injection on Wednesday, depending on what the high court decides after considering the case.

The late night drama illustrated how executions by lethal injection have become highly controversial in the U.S. since the 32 state with capital punishment began facing a shortage of drugs used to execute death row inmates.

Originally set for Wednesday at 12:01 a.m. (0501 GMT), it was the third U.S. execution delayed by a court since an Oklahoma man's botched procedure last month prompted accusations of torture and reignited fierce debate in the United States about capital punishment.

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