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“Texas 7″ Gang Member Wins Execution Reprieve

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HUNTSVILLE (AP) - One of the infamous “Texas 7″ fugitive gang has won a stay from the U.S. Supreme Court one week before his scheduled execution.

Donald Newbury was to die February 1 for his part in the fatal shooting of a Dallas-area police officer. Justice Antonin Scalia granted the reprieve Wednesday.

Attorneys argued that he should be spared while justices consider an Arizona case that questions whether death row inmates are entitled to better legal help during initial appeals. The court already has heard arguments on that case.

The gang engineered the biggest prison escape in Texas history, overpowering workers at a prison in Kenedy, about 60 miles south of San Antonio, in December 2000. They stole the workers’ clothes, broke into the prison armory to get guns and drove away in a prison truck. They robbed two Houston-area stores and then, on Christmas Eve, shot an Irving police officer when he interrupted their robbery of a sporting goods store.

The group was caught a month later in Colorado, where one member killed himself. The six others went to Texas death row after separate trials in Dallas.

Newbury would have been the second of the gang executed for the Christmas Eve 2000 killing of Irving police officer Aubrey Hawkins during a robbery.

In interviews after his capture, Newbury had said he regretted Hawkins’ death but didn’t regret breaking out of prison.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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