By Bernie Woodall and David Beasley
(Reuters) - The execution of a 56-year-old man convicted of committing a Christmas Eve 1993 double murder in Alabama was put on hold after a U.S. district judge issued a stay and the state attorney general did not immediately appeal, officials said on Thursday.
Jeffrey Borden was convicted of shooting to death his estranged wife, Cheryl Borden, and his father-in-law, Roland Harris, in Gardendale in front of the former couple's children.
The grounds for the stay were not immediately clear. The execution had been scheduled Thursday.
"It will not be tonight," Alabama Department of Corrections spokeswoman Samantha Banks said by phone.
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week had granted the injunction to allow Borden to challenge the use of the sedative midazolam. Borden's attorneys argued that midazolam does not render an inmate sufficiently unconscious and should not be used in executions.
In Florida, another man also convicted of double murder was still set to be put to death on Thursday barring a late stay.
Michael Lambrix, 57, was scheduled for execution at the Florida State Prison in Starke.
Lambrix was convicted of killing a man and a woman in 1983 in Glades County in southwest Florida after inviting them over to eat spaghetti during a night of drinking, court records show.
Lambrix choked and stomped on Aleisha Bryant and hit Clarence Moore Jr. over the head with a tire tool, according to the records.
But Lambrix said the court system that condemned him overlooked evidence that he said would show he killed Moore in self-defense. Lambrix also said Moore killed Bryant.
"It won't be an execution," Lambrix told reporters on Tuesday at the prison in Starke. "It's going to be an act of cold-blooded murder."
Lambrix is seeking a late stay from the U.S. Supreme Court on the grounds that his death sentence should be considered unconstitutional because justices ruled in 2016 that Florida was allowing judges power that should be given to juries.
Florida's death penalty laws have since been changed so that only a unanimous vote by a jury can condemn someone to death. A jury vote recommending the death penalty after Lambrix's conviction was not unanimous.
(Reporting by Bernie Woodall in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and David Beasley in Atlanta; editing by Cynthia Osterman and Grant McCool)