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Courts delay executions in Georgia and Missouri

ATLANTA (AP) — The Georgia Supreme Court halted the execution of a convicted killer four hours before he was scheduled to die, saying it wanted to further review the case, which could be used to decide whether the electric chair constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.

In another final-hour reprieve Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the scheduled execution of a borderline mentally retarded man shortly before he was to be put to death in Missouri.

Tuesday's 4-3 ruling by the Georgia Supreme Court delayed indefinitely the execution of Ronald Keith Spivey, who was convicted of killing a Columbus, Ga., police officer in 1976.

In the Missouri case before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, Antonio Richardson, 26, was granted a stay to give the justices more time to consider his case. He was to be put to death for his role in the 1991 rapes and deaths of sisters Robin Kerry, 19, and Julie Kerry, 20.