MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Convicted mass murderer John Errol Ferguson will be kept alive a little longer.

CBs4 news partner The Miami Herald reports a federal appeals court Friday night declined to lift a stay of execution for Miami mass murderer John Errol Ferguson, who defense lawyers say is too mentally ill to be executed.

Ferguson, convicted of eight murders in 1977 and 1978, was slated to die by lethal injection Tuesday at the Florida State Prison in Starke. But after a night of dramatic legal battles — and a series of conflicting legal rulings — the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals finally issued a stay.

The Florida Attorney General’s Office on Wednesday asked the court to lift the stay, saying Ferguson was not “delusional” as he waited to be executed. On Friday night, the Atlanta-based appeals court declined.

That means Ferguson’s lawyers next week can file more legal briefs to the court to support their claim that executing Ferguson, a long diagnosed schizophrenic, would be “cruel and unusual” punishment.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report.)



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