Convicted Killer Dies by Injection; Another Wins Stay

JANUARY 7, 2004 - Posted at 7:42 a.m. CDT

VARNER, AR - After a quarter of a century in prison, Charles Singleton has been executed for the 1979 murder of a grocer in Hamburg.

The 44-year-old Singleton died by lethal injection last night.  He was convicted of the stabbing death of Mary Lou York, who had befriended Singleton.  York identified Singleton as her attacker before she died.

A federal judge last night ordered a halt to a second scheduled execution, that of 35-year-old Karl Roberts.  The confessed killer of his 12-year-old niece, Andria Nichole Brewer, had not pursued appeals but changed his mind as his scheduled execution approached.

Lawyers for the state opposed Roberts' motion for a stay.  A federal appeals court gave Roberts' lawyer seven days to answer arguments by the state that a federal judge didn't have jurisdiction to grant Roberts' stay of execution.

Roberts' lawyers say they have issues on which they can appeal his conviction and sentence.

Singleton's case was tied up in appeals for years on grounds that he was mentally ill when not medicated by the state.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)