Hours before Texas could carry out the nation's first execution since Oklahoma officials botched a lethal injection last month,  the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a dramatic unanimous ruling Tuesday that halted Robert Campbell's execution and granted him a new appeal.

The court cited new defense evidence that Campbell is intellectually disabled, with an IQ of 69 — below the minimum threshold set by most courts that would make it unconstitutional for him to be executed. 

 "Campbell and his attorneys have not had a fair opportunity to develop Campbell's claim of ineligibility for the death penalty," the court wrote. "In light of the evidence we have been shown, we believe that Campbell must be given such an opportunity."

Executions are such an everyday matter in Huntsville that Jim Willett was surprised when he started getting phone calls from reporters this week.

"It's the usual thing in town," said Willett, former warden at the Huntsville prison, now director of the nearby Texas Prison Museum that houses, among other things, the state's decommissioned electric chair, "Old Sparky."

As warden, Willett oversaw scores of executions. He recalled only one botched execution — Raymond Landry Sr. in 1988 — when he worked at the prison but was not yet warden.