A US district judge has ordered a new delay in federal executions, hours before the first lethal injection was scheduled to be carried out at a federal prison in Indiana.
The administration is certain to ask a higher court to allow the executions to move forward.
US District Judge Tanya Chutkan said there are still legal issues to resolve and that “the public is not served by short-circuiting legitimate judicial process”.
The executions, pushed by the Trump administration, would be the first carried out at the federal level since 2003.
The new hold on executions came a day after a federal appeals court lifted a hold on the execution of Daniel Lewis Lee, of Yukon, Oklahoma, which is scheduled for 4pm local time on Monday at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana.
He was convicted in Arkansas of the 1996 killings of gun dealer William Mueller, his wife, Nancy, and her eight-year-old daughter, Sarah Powell.