Update:  In actions taken this afternoon, a federal appeals court vacated the stay of execution order for Middleton.   The case will now proceed to the U.S. Supreme Court on an appeal by the Missouri man’s legal team.

A convicted murderer’s execution is once again on hold. According to reports, a federal judge stayed the execution of John Middleton for a second time late last night ruling there was enough evidence of mental illness to cause a need for a hearing.

The 54-year-old was convicted in the shooting deaths of three Missourians in the mid-1990’s along with his then-girlfriend, Maggie Hodges, who is currently serving a life sentence after entering a guilty plea to the crimes.  Middleton was scheduled for execution at the state prison in Bonne Terre.

Missouri has appealed the stay to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. A decision is expected some time Wednesday.