The execution of a former Dillsburg, Pa., man, who plead guilty to the kidnap, rape and murder of a Dillsburg-area teen, was delayed by the U.S. Supreme Court, affirming a stay of execution granted by the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, Philadelphia.
Hubert L. Michael Jr. was scheduled to die by lethal injection, last Thursday evening at the State Correctional Institution at Rockview. On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania State Board of Pardons denied a request for leniency filed by Michael.
On July 12, 1993, Michael, now 56, was living in a boarding house in Leymoyne. Court records state that Michael picked up Eng as she was walking to work at Hardees Restaurant, located on U.S. 15, north, in Dillsburg. Police said after driving her to an isolated area of the State Game Lands 242, he used a .44 magnum handgun to shoot Eng twice in the chest and once in the head.
While awaiting execution last Thursday, Michael “did not select or eat a final meal. He made no attempt at a final statement,. He remained quiet, composed and polite and read his Bible and listened to the radio. He visited with his attorney and his spiritual advisor,” said Susan McNaughton, press secretary for the Department of Corrections.
“The Department of Corrections was prepared to carry out the execution,” McNaughton said. “Based on the defense attorneys’ appeal in federal court, the matter is now back in the hands of the judiciary. If and when the stay is lifted by the court, the execution will be scheduled directly.”
The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals has at least 14 days from the date that Michael filed the appeal, to rule. The appeal was filed last Thursday. The case was remanded to U.S. Middle District Court of Pennsylvania Judge John E. Jones III, who was directed to explain his decision to allow Michael to appeal after the court denied a petition to stay Michael’s execution.
Attorneys for the Pennsylvania Attorney General had filed an emergency petition with the U.S. Supreme Court to have the 3rd Circuit Court’s ruling reversed. The Supreme Court denied the petition about 8: 30 p.m., last Thursday.
Helen Marino, the chief of the Federal Defender’s death-penalty division, represented Michael in the appeal Marino said they were pleased by the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the stay of execution. Marino said the courts recognized there “are compelling claims relating to Mr. Michael’s debilitation mental conditions that have never been reviewed by any court.”