Judge stays 'Texas 7' gang member execution for 2nd time
HOUSTON (AP) - The execution of a "Texas 7" gang member who killed a police officer has been stayed again because the state refuses to provide him with a Buddhist chaplain in the death chamber.
The U.S. Supreme Court initially blocked Patrick Murphy's execution in March, saying his religious rights would be violated if no Buddhist chaplain was present. A month later, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice banned all clergy in death chambers and rescheduled Murphy's execution for Nov. 13.
U.S. District Judge George C. Hanks stayed Murphy's execution on Thursday, days before he was scheduled for lethal injection.
Murphy and six inmates escaped prison in 2000, committed robberies and killed Officer Aubrey Hawkins. One subsequently killed himself, four have been executed, while Murphy and another await execution.
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