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Appeals court overturns stay of execution in Delaware

DOVER, Del. — A federal appeals court has overturned a judge’s decision that had put a scheduled Friday execution in Delaware on hold.

Thursday’s decision by the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia came just hours before the scheduled execution of Shannon Johnson, which was to take place shortly after midnight.

A federal district court judge in Wilmington had stayed the execution Wednesday in response to a filing by federal public defenders.

Johnson has waived his right to further appeals and wants to be executed, but federal public defenders sought last week to intervene in his case without his consent for the second time.

They argued that Johnson’s estranged sister should be allowed to act on his behalf because he is mentally incompetent.

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