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Twenty-two former judges and prosecutors on Wednesday asked Gov. Rick Perry to stop an execution set for next week because an important hearing in the condemned inmate's case is scheduled for two days after the lethal injection.

State District Judge Robert Dry in Collin County has set a Sept. 12 hearing on the request from attorneys for convicted killer Charles Dean Hood for arguments on whether a former judge and district attorney were in an unethical romantic relationship during Hood's trial. Hood is set to die Sept. 10 for murdering a couple in Plano in 1989.

Perry has the authority to block executions with a one-time, 30-day reprieve for condemned prisoners.

Perry spokeswoman Allison Castle confirmed the governor's office had received the letter. Perry, who was in east Texas on Wednesday visiting Hurricane Gustav evacuees preparing to return home, had made no decision on the request, Castle said.

Hood's lawyers contend the alleged secret relationship between now-retired Judge Verla Sue Holland, who presided over Hood's capital murder trial in 1990, and the prosecutor, former Collin County District Attorney Tom O'Connell, tainted the trial.


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