Beebe Waiting on Court to Act on Execution Date

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Gov. Mike Beebe says if the state Supreme Court doesn't rule in a death-row case by Friday afternoon, he will delay next week's scheduled execution of Frank Williams Jr.

Williams, 42, is scheduled to die Tuesday for the 1992 slaying of Lafayette County farmer Clyde Spence. Williams had worked for Spence but was fired after Spence said Williams broke a tractor.

Williams' lawyers are challenging whether the state followed the right protocols when changing the way it executes prisoners. Also, the lawyers say Williams is mentally retarded and shouldn't be put to death.

A parole board has recommended clemency. Beebe said he would review court filings with his staff before making a decision. The governor said it is his responsibility to know when to "interfere" with a jury's decision to impose the death penalty.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)