California man wins reprieve hours before executionAugust 4, 1997
Web posted at: 2:53 p.m. EDT (1853 GMT)
SAN FRANCISCO (CNN) -- The day after one court halted his execution, Thomas Thompson was waiting on Monday to find out if another court will reinstate it.
On Sunday, a federal appeals court threw out Thompson's death sentence, less than 48 hours before he was due to be executed by legal injection at San Quentin State Prison. The California man was convicted for the 1981 rape and murder of Ginger Fleischli, 20, in Laguna Beach, California.
In a decision that set off a firestorm of controversy, an 11-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals voted 7-4 to annul Thompson's death sentence and ordered that he be given a new trial on the rape charge.
The appeals court, which cited errors by Thompson's attorney at his 1983 trial, also asked a U.S. District Court to decide whether Thompson's first-degree murder conviction should stand in light of its ruling on the rape conviction.
The state responded with its own appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which could reinstate the order to execute Thompson, 42.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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