The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has stopped the state’s first execution of the year, pointing to changes in bite mark science and laws regarding intellectual disability and the death penalty.
Blaine Milam received a stay from the court a day before his death was scheduled on Tuesday. Milam, 29, was convicted in the brutal death of his girlfriend’s 13-month-old baby girl in 2008 in East Texas.
In a late appeal, Milam argued against the state’s reliance on bite mark testimony, which was a key part of his trial. His lawyers also claimed he was intellectually disabled and therefore ineligible for execution.
“Because of recent changes in the science pertaining to bite mark comparisons and recent changes in the law pertaining to the issue of intellectual disability … we therefore stay his execution and remand these claims to the trial court for a review of the merits of these claims,” the order stated.
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This story is developing and will be updated.