A death-row inmate in Alabama was spared just hours before lethal injection Thursday as the Supreme Court agreed to stay the execution over concerns regarding the man’s competency. The attorney general had filed a motion earlier in the day seeking to vacate the stay, a request that was denied. Vernon Madison was sentenced to death for killing a police officer in 1985. He was scheduled to die by lethal injection at 6 p.m. Thursday, but an appeals court granted him the right to argue his case, and a split 4-4 decision by the Supreme Court later agreed to grant a stay of execution. His defense lawyers argue that he should not be executed because he has suffered a series of strokes and suffers from dementia. He cannot “rationally understand why the state of Alabama is seeking to execute him,” they said.