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Friday, September 24, 2010

GA Supreme Court grants Brandon Rhode second stay of execution

We said it was unlikely, but at 4 p.m. — just three hours before his execution was to be carried out — Brandon Rhode was granted a second stay of execution by the Georgia Supreme Court. Rhode was initially granted a temporary stay when on Tuesday he attempted suicide with the blade from a dismantled disposable razor, a razor given to him by a prison guard.

Since the suicide attempt, Rhode's attorney Brian Kammer has argued that his client is not competent to face execution. He filed a motion this morning for an emergency stay based on Rhode having been deprived a "meaningful proceeding" under state law. Nine hours of court proceedings were held in Butts County — at least in part during the night — to determine whether Rhode is competent to face execution, but a psychiatrist appointed by Rhode's counsel was not given the opportunity to attend and a transcript of the proceeding was not made available to Kammer until 10 this morning. In his motion, Kammer says the stay will give "a real opportunity to examine the transcripts of the proceedings" and, as such, to file any appeals.

Rhode was convicted in 2000 of murdering three members of a Jones County family — Steven Moss and his two children, Kristin and Bryan, ages 15 and 11, respectively — during a burglary.

The stay expires at 4 p.m. on Monday, September 27.

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