HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A federal appeals court has issued a stay, preventing planned execution of Pennsylvania death row inmate Hubert Michael.

The stay was issued hours before Michael was to be put to death by lethal injection at Rockview State Prison.

Previously requests for a stay had been rejected by U.S. District Judges John Jones and Yvette Kane in separate cases.

The state Board of Pardons heard 56-year-old Hubert Michael’s request Wednesday.

Michael pleaded guilty to the July 1993 murder of 16-year-old Trista Elizabeth Eng, after kidnapping her in York County, about a half-hour south of Harrisburg.

The pardons board must unanimously support a clemency petition for it to advance to Gov. Tom Corbett, but the final decision rests with the governor.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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