FLORENCE, Ariz., March 6 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court upheld a stay of execution for Edward Harold Schad because his attorney did not offer mental illness as a reason not to execute him.
The court upheld a decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled the New York man's case merited another look based on overlapping Supreme Court decisions about when new evidence due to "ineffective assistance of counsel" can be introduced in federal appeals, The Arizona Republic reported Tuesday.
The stay of execution came down to the last minute -- approximately 8 p.m. Tuesday -- when Schad was scheduled to be executed by lethal injection at the Arizona State Prison Complex in Florence, Ariz., the newspaper said.
The nature of Schad's mental illness was not reported.
Schad, 70, had been twice convicted in the murder of Lorimar Grove, who disappeared Aug. 1, 1978, and was found dead eight days later south of Prescott.
Schad's first conviction, in 1979, was overturned because a judge had given the jury improper instructions about the definition of a felony murder, the Republic reported.
His second conviction in 1985 went all the way to Supreme Court, which ruled in 1991 when defendants are charged with first-degree premeditated murder and first-degree felony murder, jury decisions do not have to be unanimous on either count. This ruling could come into play in the current trial in Phoenix for Jodi Arias, who is accused of killing her boyfriend by repeatedly stabbing him and shooting him in the head.