Texas to appeal judge’s ruling to halt execution

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Associated Press

Posted on October 8, 2012 at 5:38 PM

HOUSTON—The Texas attorney general’s office is planning to appeal a federal district order that halted this week’s execution of a man condemned for the 2000 abduction, rape and strangling of a 12-year-old Southeast Texas girl.

Jonathan Green, 44, was set to die Wednesday in Huntsville for the slaying of Christina Neal. Green lived near Neal’s family in Dobbin, about 45 miles northwest of Houston.

Her body was found inside his home about a month after she disappeared in June 2000. Green’s attorneys contend he’s mentally incompetent for execution.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Atlas ruled Monday that attorneys Green weren’t properly allowed at a state competency hearing to present testimony from mental health professionals who treated him. The hearing was two years ago.

Atlas also says a judge who found Green competent for execution relied on an order drafted by prosecutors, that Green’s lawyers had no opportunity to object and that at least one legal standard in the ruling was incorrectly applied.

State attorneys filed a notice Monday with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals hours after Atlas stopped the execution.

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