Appeals court stays convicted killer’s Tuesday execution

January 14, 2019
This undated photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows Blaine Milam. Milam, A Texas death row inmate was set to die by lethal injection Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019 for killing his girlfriend's 13-month-old daughter during a torturous ordeal the couple had said was part of an "exorcism" to expel a demon from the child's body. A Texas appeals court granted a stay in his execution Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. (Texas Department of Criminal Justice via AP)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A Texas appeals court has delayed this week’s scheduled execution of a man convicted of killing his girlfriend’s 13-month-old daughter during what the couple had said was part of an “exorcism.”

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Monday granted the stay for Blaine Milam. His execution was slated for Tuesday.

Milam’s attorneys say his conviction was based on “now discredited” bite mark evidence. They also argue he is intellectually disabled and therefore ineligible for execution.

The appeals court says it granted the stay due to recent changes in the science tied to bite mark comparisons and to changes in the law related to intellectual disability.

The 29-year-old Milam would have been the first inmate put to death this year both in the U.S. and in Texas.

Milam’s girlfriend, Jesseca Carson, was also convicted of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole.