Texas judge halts execution of man convicted in corrections officer fatal stabbing

BEEVILLE, Texas, Aug. 12 (UPI) — A Texas judge ordered a stay of execution for Robert Lynn Pruett, who was sentenced to death for the 1999 fatal stabbing of a correctional officer.

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Lawrence Meyers on Monday halted the Aug. 23 execution “pending further order of this court.” Meyers did not indicate what additional orders the court would issue in his two-page ruling.

Pruett’s execution was halted in 2015 so DNA testing could be conducted on adhesive tape covering the handle of the knife used in the killing of Texas Department of Criminal Justice correctional officer Daniel Nagle. DNA testing was conducted after last year’s stay of execution but officials found testing inconclusive, which failed to exonerate Pruett but he appealed the finding earlier this year.

“In April 2015, appellant moved for DNA testing … The trial court granted the motion, but found that the test results were not favorable to appellant. Appellant now appeals the trial court’s determination that it was not reasonably probable that, had the results of the testing been available during the trial of the offense, he would not have been convicted,” Meyers wrote. “Upon review, we have determined that appellant’s execution should be stayed pending further order of this court.”

Pruett was convicted of capital murder in 2002 but said he was framed for the killing. Prosecutors alleged that Pruett killed Nagle because Nagle refused to let him take his lunch to the recreation yard.

Pruett was serving a 99-year sentence for helping his father and brother kill a neighbor when he was 16.

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