WASHINGTON : A court in the US state of Texas halted an execution Tuesday with just hours to spare of a convicted murderer who had appealed on grounds he suffered intellectual disabilities. Robert James Campbell would have been the first US inmate put to death since a botched lethal injection procedure in neighboring Oklahoma last month ignited a national debate over the death penalty. Campbell’s execution, which had been scheduled for 6:00 pm (2300 GMT), has now been postponed until a court has the opportunity to consider and rule on the question of his intellectual disabilities.

“The record evidence contains the results from four intelligence tests administered during multiple periods of Campbell’s life, including his childhood, each indicating significantly subaverage intellectual functioning,” the judges wrote in their ruling.