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Bahamas Court Stays Hangings

August 9, 1999

NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) _ The Bahamas Supreme Court on Monday postponed two hangings set for Tuesday morning, saying it will give defense lawyers a few more days to present last-minute appeals.

Supreme Court Justice Ricardo Marques said he will hear appeals from convicted murderers David Mitchell and John Higgs Wednesday afternoon and make a decision Friday. Mitchell’s and Higgs’ attorneys had argued Monday morning that they were not fully prepared to present their cases.

Higgs, 50, was to hang Tuesday at 8 a.m. in the Fox Hill maximum security compound. Higgs was convicted in October 1995 of murdering his wife and hiding her corpse in the concrete stairwell of the apartment complex he was building.

Mitchell, 26, was to hang an hour after Higgs. Mitchell stabbed a German couple to death in Treasure Cay, Abaco, in 1994 during a burglary attempt, then fled in their truck. The couple had been winter residents of the Bahamas for more than 20 years.

The Bahamas has 28 inmates on death row. In October, it hanged two murder convicts _ its first executions since 1996.

Many Caribbean countries plan to resume hangings, saying they are needed to curb drug-related crime in the region.

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