Late yesterday, the Missouri Supreme Court vacated a warrant of execution for Kimber Edwards, a man convicted of murdering his ex-wife through a hit man. Edwards had been scheduled to die on May 12.
In August 2000, Kimberly Cantrell was shot twice in the head in her University City apartment. Witnesses said they'd seen another man, Orthell Wilson, knocking on her door just before the shooting. But Wilson told police that Cantrell's ex-husband, Edwards, paid him $3,500 and provided him with a key to her apartment. Wilson also led authorities to the place where he'd stashed the murder weapon.
Prosecutors said Edwards did not want his ex-wife to prevail in a child-support battle. Edwards claimed he was framed and his confession coerced.
Edwards and Cantrell divorced in 1990, after having one daughter together. They'd begun fighting over his child-support payments just before the killing.
Wilson pleaded guilty to shooting Cantrell, but did not testify in Edwards' trial. He is serving life in prison without parole.
The state court did not release any reason for the cancellation, though on March 26 -- the same day Edwards' execution date was announced --his attorneys submitted a motion for a stay. They will both be in court on other cases right around the same day Edwards was to die.
"Counsel would be unable to devote the necessary time to the outstanding work to be completed in support of Mr. Edwards' clemency petition," the motion reads. "Mr. Edwards is entitled to due process protection throughout the clemency process."
Here's the full motion. We'll update as we learn more:
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