Edward Harold Schad

PHOENIX - The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to clear the way for an Arizona death-row inmate to be executed for killing a man more than 30 years ago during a robbery.

The nation's highest court decided late Tuesday to deny the state's request to lift a lower court's order that blocked the execution.

That denial postpones today's scheduled execution of Edward Schad, 70, who was convicted of murdering Lorimer "Leroy" Grove, 74, of Bisbee in 1978. A sash-like cord that had been used to strangle Grove was still knotted around his neck when his body was found. Schad drove Grove's car around the country and used his credit cards after the slaying, authorities said.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had blocked Schad's execution while a judge considers his claim that he was denied effective legal representation after his conviction. The state had asked the U.S. Supreme Court to let the execution go ahead as planned.

Schad's execution would be Arizona's 34th since 1992. Before his murder conviction in Arizona, Schad was convicted of second-degree murder, and eventually paroled, in the 1968 death of Clare Odell Mortensen in Utah, according to court records.