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HOUSTON A federal appeals court is deliberating a request to lift a lower court order and reschedule for later in the day the execution of the convicted killer of a 12-year-old Southeast Texas girl.

State attorneys appealed to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a reprieve that would block Wednesday evening s execution in Huntsville of Jonathan Green. The 44-year-old inmate was condemned for the abduction-slaying of Christina Neal 12 years ago.

Neal s family and Green lived in the same Montgomery County area about 45 miles northwest of Houston. Her body was found in his home a month after she disappeared.

Green s lawyers argue that he s mentally incompetent for execution. State attorneys contend a federal judge in Houston exceeded her authority Monday when she stopped his scheduled punishment.
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