WASHINGTON (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – The Supreme Court has lifted its hold on the execution of a Texas man convicted in the Fort Worth shooting death of a woman in 2002.

The court’s order Tuesday frees the state to set a new execution date for Cleve Foster, who was hours away from receiving a lethal injection in April when the high court stepped in.

Foster’s appeal raised claims of innocence and poor legal help during his trial and early stages of his appeals. Attorney Ben Leonard prosecuted Foster. “This last claim was whether or not he’d had effective counsel and I know that he had one of the best lawyers in Fort Worth, so obviously the Supreme Court agrees with that,” he said.

Foster and a companion, Sheldon Ward, were both given the death sentence for raping and fatally shooting Nyanuer “Mary” Pal in Fort Worth. The 28-year-old woman’s body was found in a ditch by a work crew hours after the men were seen following her from a pool hall.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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