A federal appeals court has intervened to halt the release of a capital-murder defendant who had been slated to go free.
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond on Thursday granted a stay sought by Virginia's attorney general. The move delays an order from a federal judge for the unconditional release of Justin Wolfe, who is facing death-penalty charges for the 2001 slaying of a northern Virginia drug dealer.
The district court judge had said the state's prosecution of Wolfe was irreparably harmed by prosecutors' misconduct in allegedly coercing testimony from a key witness.
Prosecutors said they acted properly.
The appeals court in Richmond plans to hear the issue in full at the end of the month.