The stay came 30 minutes before Joseph Stanley Faulder, 61, was to be sent to the Texas death chamber for the 1975 murder the matriarch of a wealthy Texas oil family.
Supreme Court spokesman Ed Turner said the court would not act on the appeal Thursday. That means Faulder apparently will live at least into early 1999, since another execution date can't be scheduled for sooner than 30 days.
He would have been the first Canadian put to death in the United States since 1952.
Faulder's cause had won support from government officials and death penalty foes in Canada, where capital punishment was banned in 1976, and from Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
Albright had asked that the execution be postponed because Faulder was not informed of his right under international law to contact the Canadian consulate when he was arrested. She said her concern is making sure "that if any of our citizens find themselves in trouble, they will be accorded their rights."
On Thursday, a federal appeals court in New Orleans lifted a stay of execution that had been issued a day earlier by a federal judge in Texas. The lower-court judge had issued the stay to look into whether the Texas parole board violated Faulder's rights in rejecting his plea for clemency.
Faulder confessed and was convicted of beating and stabbing to death 75-year-old Inez Phillips, who was found in her Gladewater home with her skull fractured and a butcher knife buried 6 and 1/2 inches in her chest. He had become enraged after finding her safe empty.
Texas officials said they did not know he was a Canadian when he was arrested because he was carrying a U.S. driver's license.
"At no time did we prevent or prohibit him from calling the Canadian Embassy," said Odis Hill, the former district attorney who prosecuted Faulder. "If he thought he got such a raw deal and that the embassy could have helped, don't you think he would have contacted them before he sat on death row for 15 years?"
Faulder had been taken to a holding cell just outside the death chamber Thursday afternoon. He told prison spokesman Larry Fitzgerald: "I want to thank the people of Canada for being supportive of me."
While the case was big news in Canada, it attracted relatively little attention or support in Texas, easily the most active state in carrying out the death penalty. As of Wednesday, Texas had executed 163 people since the U.S. Supreme Court allowed capital punishment to resume in 1976.
"People can't just come in our state and cold-blood murder somebody," Gov. George W. Bush said. "That's unacceptable behavior, regardless of their nationality."
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