Michael returns to 'home' prison after Supreme Ct. stays execution

Written by Craig Layne, Radio Pennsylvania and The Associated Press | Nov 9, 2012 6:27 AM
prison guard tower

(Bellefonte) -- Condemned killer Hubert Michael can look forward to returning to his home prison in southwestern Pennsylvania -- at least until Governor Corbett signs a new death warrant.

An 11th-hour ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court ended any chance of Michael being executed by lethal injection last night for the abduction, rape and murder of 16-year-old Trista Eng in York County 19 years ago.

The high court agreed with a federal appeals court ruling earlier in the day that stayed the execution at Rockview State Prison in Centre County.

Corrections Department spokeswoman Sue McNaughton says another execution could be set.

"Based on the defense attorney's appeal in federal court, the matter is now back in the hands of the judiciary," McNaughton says. "If and when the stay is lifted by the court, the execution will be scheduled directly."

As the state prepared for Michael's execution, protestors gathered outside the prison walls.

Kathleen Lucas with the group "Pennsylvanians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty" says she's morally opposed to executions.

"I don't think we should kill people," Lucas says flatly. "I mean, if killing people is wrong, then why are we doing that, what does it say about us as a society? It brutalizes the society even more."

Michael would have been the first person executed in the state since 1999.

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