FILE - In this Dec. 13, 2011 file photo released by the Missouri Department of Corrections is death-row inmate Herbert Smulls who is scheduled to die by injection one minute after midnight Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014 for killing St. Louis County jeweler Stephen Honickman in 1991. The U.S. Supreme Court has granted a stay of execution for Missouri death row inmate Herbert Smulls, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014. Justice Samuel Alito signed the order that was sent out Tuesday night after President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech. (AP Photo/Missouri Department of Corrections)The Associated Press
ST. LOUIS – The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule Wednesday on two petitions regarding Missouri death row inmate Herbert Smulls, whose execution has been temporarily stayed.
The order was sent out late Tuesday evening, about two-and-a-half hours before Smulls was scheduled to die at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.
Missouri statutes allow executions to occur at any time of the scheduled day. If the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately decides in favor of the state, the execution could occur later Wednesday.
The 56-year-old was convicted and sentenced to death in the killing of a St. Louis County jeweler in 1991.
Smulls' lawyer has argued the state's refusal to disclose the compounding pharmacy from which it purchases the lethal execution drug pentobarbital makes it impossible to know whether the drug could cause pain and suffering.