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Ohio won't appeal federal judge's order halting execution

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Reuters) - The state of Ohio said on Wednesday it won't appeal an order halting the execution of a convicted murderer who was scheduled to die next Tuesday.

A spokeswoman for the state's attorney general said his office "will not appeal a federal judge's restraining order halting Tuesday's scheduled execution of condemned killer Kenneth Smith" while the court case that prompted the order continues.

Last Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Gregory Frost delayed Smith's execution after finding Ohio enforces some of its execution policies inconsistently.

"Ohio pays lip service to standards it then often ignores without valid reasons," Frost wrote in last week's ruling, "sometimes with no physical ramification and sometimes with what has been described as messy if not botched executions."

Smith, 45, was convicted along with his brother of murdering Lewis Ray and his wife Ruth Ray in their Hamilton, Ohio home as part of a 1995 robbery. He was scheduled to die July 19.

Smith and other inmates argued to Foster that Ohio does not always have the required number of medical team members present for an execution and does not always properly document the preparation of drugs.

Frost's ruling does not conclusively hold that Ohio's method of execution is unconstitutional. But it acts as a stay on executions until a trial on the issue, scheduled for late October.

(Reporting by Jim Leckrone in Columbus; Writing by James B. Kelleher; Editing by Jerry Norton)

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