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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The Florida Supreme Court is rejecting a request to postpone the scheduled execution of a man convicted of raping and beating a woman to death.

The court on Tuesday refused to halt Eric Scott Branch’s planned Feb. 22 execution while Branch tries to appeal his case to the United States Supreme Court.

Authorities say Branch attacked Susan Morris in January 1993 as she walked to her car at the University of West Florida in Pensacola. Branch dragged Morris into a nearby wooded area, where he beat, strangled and sexually battered her. Branch then left Morris’ body in a shallow grave and stole her car to flee the state.

Attorneys for Branch argued the U.S. Supreme Court needed time to consider his appeal “without the time constraints of a pending execution.”

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