The Mississippi Supreme Court has set a May 20 execution date for death row inmate Gerald James Holland. Holland, at 72, is the oldest inmate on death row.
Holland, of Adams County, was sentenced to death for raping, beating, stabbing and suffocating 15-year-old Krystal King in 1987.
The Office of Capital Post-Conviction Counsel said it needed more time to review Holland's case before filing a response to the attorney general's April 19 motion for the setting of an execution date.
The Supreme Court, in Thursday's order, says it saw no reason to delay setting an execution date.
An attorney for 16 Mississippi death row inmates has filed a lawsuit claiming a state office failed in its duty to provide adequate legal representation for prisoners' post-conviction appeals.
The lawsuit against the state was filed Thursday in Hinds County Chancery Court by Jackson attorney Jim Craig, who has handled dozens of death row appeals.
The lawsuit gives only one side of the legal argument. In it, Craig contends the Mississippi Office of Capital Post-Conviction Counsel is inadequately staffed and its attorneys are not versed in handling death row appeals.
A spokeswoman said Attorney General Jim Hood was in a meeting Thursday and was not immediately available for comment.