The Washington state Supreme Court has postponed what would have been the first execution in the state since 2001.

The court ruled 5-4 on Thursday to grant a last-minute reprieve to 50-year-old Cal Coburn Brown for the May 1991 rape and murder of a 22-year-old Burien woman, Holly Washa.

Brown was scheduled to die by lethal injection early Friday morning at the Washington State Penitentiary.

Brown's case goes back to Thurston County Superior Court, where another Washington death row inmate was recently granted a May hearing on the validity of the lethal injection procedure. Brown's lawyers contended that it would be wrong to execute Brown even as Stenson won a delay by raising the same points.