Texas appeals court halts Wednesday execution for East Texas man

Texas appeals court halts Wednesday execution for East Texas man
Randall Mays in an Athens courtroom.(Source: KLTV Staff)
Randall Mays in an Athens courtroom.(Source: KLTV Staff)
Randall Mays (Source: Smith County Jail)
Randall Mays (Source: Smith County Jail)

AUSTIN, TX (KLTV) - An East Texas man set for execution this week for a shootout eight years ago that left

has won a reprieve from the state's highest criminal appeals court.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals stopped the scheduled execution of 55-year-old Randall Wayne Mays, of Henderson County. According to the the court's order, it "determined that further review is necessary," and the appellant's execution was stayed.

As a result of this order, Mays' case will be sent back to Henderson County courts where an expert will need to determine whether he's incompetent to receive the death

penalty.

Last month, the Henderson County District denied a motion filed by Mays' attorneys that argued Mays is incompetent to receive the death penalty.

, Henderson County District Attorney Scott McKee said the Eighth Amendment bars the execution of a person who does not understand that their execution is imminent and does not understand why they are being executed. He said his office believes Mays does know his execution is approaching and they believe he knows why he is being given that sentence.

His punishment would have depleted the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's supply of pentobarbital used for lethal injections and now difficult to obtain for capital punishment.

At least four Texas executions are scheduled for April.

Copyright 2015 KLTV. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.