Death Row Inmate Wins Reprieve Moments Before Execution
HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) _ A former electrician, moments from being executed for fatally stabbing a shoeshine girl, was spared by a federal appeals court.
Frank McFarland, 30, was sentenced to die by lethal injection for killing Terri Lynn Hokanson, who worked at a Fort Worth bar.
The woman, 26, suffering from nearly 50 stab wounds, was found lying in a church driveway on Feb. 1, 1988. She died the next day after telling police she had been raped and stabbed by two men.
Witnesses told police Ms. Hokanson was last seen with two men at another bar the night she disappeared. A knife and gold earring belonging to her were found in McFarland’s vehicle.
McFarland has insisted he is innocent.
Prosecutors had not opposed efforts to stop the execution. The Texas Resource Center, which arranges legal help for death row inmates, had sought the stay, saying it only recently learned of McFarland and needed time to get him a lawyer.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a reprieve just before midnight, when McFarland was to have been executed. The U.S. Supreme Court also issued a stay at about the same time.
McFarland would have become the 16th inmate to be executed in Texas this year. He also would have been the 70th convicted killer put to death since Texas resumed carrying out capital punishment in 1982. The total by far is the highest in the nation.