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Texas death chamber closed temporarily due to coronavirus concerns

Stay granted to offender scheduled for execution Wednesday

AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in Austin has issued a 60 day stay of execution to John William Hummel.

Hummel, 44, was scheduled to be executed Wednesday for the 2011 murders of his wife, daughter and daughter-in-law at the family’s suburban Fort Worth home.

The court’s order said in part, “In light of the current health crisis and the enormous resources needed to address execution“ the stay was granted.

Legal scholars like St. Mary’s University School of Law professor Donna Coltharp, said that similar requests from attorneys representing death row inmates are “likely to follow.”

COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March.

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