A divided Arkansas Supreme Court granted stays of executions for two Arkansas inmates while the U.S. Supreme Court takes up a separate case next week concerning access to independent mental health experts by defendants.
The Arkansas court ruled 4-3 Monday to block the executions for Bruce Ward and Don Davis, who were originally scheduled to be put to death Monday night, though stays had been issued in separate court cases challenging their executions and six others planned this month.
Writing in a dissent, Associate Justice Shawn Womack lamented the court's ruling. He wrote that Ward and Davis have had "decades of appeals" and that the victims' families deserved closure.
A spokesman for Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge had no immediate comment on the court's ruling.