This is article was copied in its entitety from Reuters News Site.
HOUSTON (Reuters) - A Texas court stayed the execution of a Texas man 24 hours before he was slated to die by lethal injection on Thursday.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ordered a state district court to review claims by Julius Murphy, 27, that he is mentally retarded and cannot be subject to capital punishment.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2002 that executing a mentally retarded person violated the U.S. Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
Murphy was condemned for the 1997 murder of Jason Erie, 26, during a robbery in the northeast Texas town of Texarkana.
Murphy's attorney Kevin Dunn said the district court can order new IQ tests on Murphy or use other methods to determine his intelligence.
No date has been set for a new hearing.
Murphy was the first person scheduled to be executed in Texas this year. The state leads the nation in capital punishment, having executed 355 people since 1982, when Texas resumed executions following a 1976 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court lifting a death penalty ban.
So far, 12 executions are scheduled for this year. Nineteen prisoners were put to death by lethal injection in 2005.