Court stops scheduled execution for man convicted of killing 11-year-old

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) - The state's top criminal appeals court has stopped tonight's scheduled execution of Bobby Wayne Woods.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals acted after Wood's attorneys raised new claims that the 42-year-old death row inmate is mentally retarded and ineligible for the death penalty.

Woods had been set to die for the 1997 slaying of his ex-girlfriend's 11-year-old daughter after abducting her and her brother from their home in Granbury, southwest of Fort Worth.

Woods said he wasn't responsible for Sarah Patterson's death and blamed it on a cousin who subsequently committed suicide. He said injuries to her 9-year-old brother, Cody, were the result of an accident.

Woods would have been the second Texas prisoner executed this week and 13th this year. Two more men face execution next week in the country's most active death penalty state.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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