SALT LAKE CITY -- A judge has halted the firing squad execution of a 50-year-old man convicted of torturing and murdering a Utah college student in 1988.
KSL reports U.S. District Judge Tena Campbell cancelled Michael Anthony Archuleta's April 5 execution date so he can pursue an appeal in federal court.
Authorities say 28-year-old Gordon Ray Church offered Archuleta and Lance Conway Wood a ride after meeting the two at a gas station Nov. 22, 1988.
Police say the men threatened to rob Church, then beat him and sexually assaulted him with a tire iron before burying him in a shallow grave.
Officials say Wood told his parole officer and led investigators to the body. He's been sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Archuleta's most recent appeal failed in November.