From the AP:

HUNTSVILLE, Texas — A Houston man who participated in a notorious death row escape attempt a decade ago won a reprieve to keep him from the Texas death chamber Tuesday for the fatal shooting of a woman during an abduction.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals issued the stay of execution for convicted killer Eric Dewayne Cathey, 37, about 4 1/2 hours before he was scheduled for lethal injection.

Cathey had insisted he wasn’t involved in the slaying of 20-year-old Christina Castillo, who was grabbed outside her Houston apartment complex, blindfolded and tied up with duct tape, then shot and dumped in a field. Prosecutors said Cathey was the gunman among several men involved in the 1995 abduction because they believed Castillo’s boyfriend was a drug dealer and hoped to get information from her to steal his drugs and money.

Attorneys filed appeals late Monday contending they had evidence of Cathey was mentally retarded and ineligible for execution under U.S. Supreme Court rulings.

“I was surprised, but I’m happy with that,” Cathey’s lawyer, Kevin Dunn, said. He said the reprieve would give attorneys time to develop additional information to support their mental retardation claim.

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