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Texas executes convicted killer, Pennsylvania execution stayed

AUSTIN, Texas/PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - A man convicted of killing a woman during a burglary at her home was executed in Texas on Thursday, while a court ordered an 11th-hour stay to Pennsylvania's first execution in 13 years, authorities said.

Mario Swain, 33, was put to death by lethal injection for the killing of Lola Nixon, 44, during a 2002 burglary at her home in Longview, Texas, the state criminal justice department said.

Swain, who authorities said made no last statement, was pronounced dead at 6:39 p.m. local time at the state prison in Huntsville, the department said. He was the 13th inmate executed in Texas this year.

Investigators connected Swain to a truck parked on her street and he later said that Nixon walked in on the burglary and they struggled. He beat her with a tire tool and put her in the trunk of her own car while she was still alive.

Swain led investigators to an abandoned car with Nixon's body inside, the account said. A medical examiner determined that she had been beaten, stabbed and likely strangled.

He was the 37th inmate executed this year in the United States, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

PENNSYLVANIA EXECUTION ON HOLD

A federal appeals court on Thursday issued a 14-day stay of execution for Hubert Michael Jr, 56, who was sentenced to death after pleading guilty to the 1993 murder of Trista Eng, 16.

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the stay after the state attorney general asked the court to vacate the ruling of the appeals court. Pennsylvania has not executed anyone since 1999.

Authorities say Michael grabbed Eng as she was walking home from her summer job at a fast-food restaurant in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania, drove her to a remote area, shot her three times and hid her body. The state pardons board rejected a bid for clemency on Wednesday.

Attorneys for Michael say he has Asperger's syndrome, a disorder that can cause sufferers to have trouble with social situations, be uncomfortable with changes in routine or have heightened sensitivities to certain situations.

The attorneys have tried to argue that Michael's disorder prevented him from accepting a life sentence he was originally offered.

(Reporting by Corrie MacLaggan and Dave Warner; Editing by Ian Simpson, Ellen Wulfhorst, Mohammad Zargham and Lisa Shumaker)

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