Judge Lifts Stay of Execution for Man Convicted of Killing 4

An eastern Pennsylvania judge has lifted a stay of execution for a man convicted of a quadruple murder five years ago.

Northampton County Judge Emil Giordano issued the ruling Tuesday in the case of 41-year-old Michael Ballard, who pleaded guilty to the June 2010 murder of his girlfriend and three other people. He had recently been paroled after serving 17 years in the murder of an Allentown man.

District Attorney John Morganelli sought the ruling after the expiration of a deadline for Ballard to file further appeals. Morganelli wants the execution rescheduled but acknowledges that Gov. Tom Wolf's death penalty moratorium will prevent it from occurring anytime soon.

A judge last fall halted Ballard's execution to allow him to join lawsuits challenging the state's use of lethal injection.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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