Published: Thursday, January 13, 2011
ATMORE, AL — The U.S. Supreme Court halted the execution of Leroy White this evening just moments before he was scheduled to die by lethal injection.
The court issued a temporary stay, under order by Justice Clarence Thomas, until it could finish reviewing the details of the appeal, said Brian Corbett, spokesman for the Alabama Department of Corrections.
White, 52, was convicted of murder in the Oct. 17, 1988, shotgun slaying of his estranged wife, Ruby White, at her northwest Huntsville home.
White will remain in a holding cell adjacent to the execution room at Holman Prison in Atmore until the Supreme Court gives further instruction, Corbett said.
White would be the fourth person from Madison County – and first since 1998 – executed since the state took over executions from the counties in 1927.
White’s request for clemency was denied this afternoon by Gov. Bob Riley.
White’s attorneys have argued that White did not receive good advice from his trial attorney who advised him not to take a plea deal that would have meant a life sentence without parole.
Attorney Bryan Stevenson, executive director of the Montgomery-based Equal Justice Initiative, said the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to take up a similar case, related to advice regarding plea deals, and its outcome should have a bearing on White’s case.
Stevenson has also argued that the victim’s family has asked that White not be executed and the jury in his case recommended a life sentence.
White has had several appeals rejected including one by the Alabama Supreme Court earlier today.