Middleton's fate in the hands of U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court will decide if John Middleton dies today after a federal appeals court vacated a stay of execution issued Tuesday.

A federal appeals court has vacated a stay of execution for a Missouri death row inmate, and the case is now heading to the U.S. Supreme Court.

John Middleton was originally scheduled to die one minute after midnight Wednesday for killing three people in rural northern Missouri in 1995.

U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry granted a stay less than two hours before the execution, ruling there was enough evidence of mental illness that a new hearing should take place.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that the execution could proceed, but Middleton's attorneys appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Missouri law allows a 24-hour window for executions. That means if Middleton has not been executed by midnight Thursday, the Missouri Supreme Court would need to set a new execution date.