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MIAMI (AP) - A federal appeals court has refused to lift a stay of execution for a Florida mass killer.

Lawyers for the state had asked the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to lift the stay for John Errol Ferguson. The Miami Herald reports ( the court declined Friday night.

Ferguson's lawyers claim he suffers from mental illness so severe that he should not be eligible for the death penalty. The 64-year-old Ferguson is a paranoid schizophrenic.

The federal appeals court blocked his scheduled execution by injection on Tuesday and the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the stay.

The Supreme Court rejected an earlier Ferguson emergency appeal Tuesday- as did the 11th Circuit- but the high court wouldn't agree to the state of Florida's request to overturn the later ruling.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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