Appeals court halts execution

JACKSON, MS (AP) - A federal appeal court has stopped the scheduled execution of Mississippi death row inmate Robert Simon Jr.

The three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans gave no immediate reason for its decision, which came hours before Simon was to be put to death by lethal injection.

The execution had been set for 6 p.m. CDT.

Simon was convicted and sentenced to death in the 1990 slayings of Carl Parker; Parker's wife, Bobbie Jo; and their 12-year-old son, Gregory. The killings occurred a few hours after the family had returned to their rural Quitman County home from church services.

Simon also was sentenced to life in prison for the killing of 9-year-old Charlotte Parker, daughter of the slain couple.

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