HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) _ The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday blocked the execution of Texas death row inmate David Holland several hours before he was to have been put to death for killing a bank manager.

The high court issued the reprieve without elaborating, said Bob Walt, an assistant Texas attorney general.

Holland, 57, was convicted of killing Helen Barnard, 29, branch manager of a Port Arthur savings and loan office, during a robbery in 1985. Also killed was a bank teller, Dianna Jackson, 23.

Holland's appeals claimed the jury was not allowed to consider evidence that showed his good character. His lawyers also challenged the constitutionality of the Texas death penalty law.

Before Holland, 50 condemned killers had died by injection in Texas since capital punishment resumed in 1982, seven of them this year. Both totals are the highest of any state.

Holland was free on bond, facing charges in a $100,000 check-kiting scheme, when a Jefferson Savings and Loan office was robbed and the two women killed July 16, 1985.

Holland had worked as a security officer for the savings and loan company at another branch.He came within about four hours of execution in December before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted a reprieve.