Tennessee Inmate Gets Stay Of Execution

Nashville (AP) -- The 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay of execution Thursday for Donnie Johnson.

He was scheduled to die in the electric chair next Wednesday and would have been the first prisoner put to death by that method in Tennessee in 46 years.

Johnson, of Covington, was convicted in 1985 of suffocating his wife by stuffing a plastic garbage bag into her mouth in Memphis.

Kelley Henry, one of Johnson's lawyers, said the stay was issued based on an argument filed by Johnson's attorneys in a brief a month ago, alleging that the state had made a deal with a co-defendant in exchange for his testimony against Johnson.

The state could challenge the stay.

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