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Federal Appeals Court Blocks Execution Of Alabama Inmate Matthew Reeves

The 43-year-old was convicted of capital murder in 1996.

Matthew Reeves, who was convicted of capital murder for the 1996 killing of Willie Johnson, was scheduled to be executed today, January 27. However, a federal appeals court has blocked the execution.

According to the Montgomery Adviser, in 1996 Reeves, who was then 18, was picked up with others on a highway by Willie Johnson. Their car had broken down. Johnson was robbed of $360 and fatally shot. Johnson’s body was found inside his truck on Thanksgiving.

Allegedly, witnesses said they saw Reeves at a party later that night with blood stains on his hands. He was reportedly dancing, mimicking the convulsions Johnson suffered as he was dying.

The Alabama Department of Corrections gives death row inmates the choice on how they want to die. However, the execution was reportedly delayed because the Alabama Department of Corrections did not give Reeves, who is intellectually disabled, that choice. His lawyers argue this violates the American With Disabilities Act.

RELATED: Pervis Payne Case: Tennessee D.A. Abandons Death Penalty Pursuit

The three-judge panel that blocked the execution said in their ruling, “Notably, this is not a case where a defendant has asked a district court to enjoin a state from executing him altogether, regardless of the method of execution. Mr. Reeves requested only that the court prevent the ADOC from executing him by any method other than the one he would have chosen but for the defendants’ alleged violation of the ADA, pending resolution of his ADA claim."

Reeves, now 43, did not select an execution method due to his intellectual disabilities.

The Alabama attorney general's office said it would appeal the court’s ruling.

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