GREENVILLE, N.C. — A murder victim's grandmother is speaking out about a recent stay of execution.
Sammy Perkins, 50, was scheduled to die May 21.
Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Terrence Boyle ordered a stay that was filed Tuesday while the U.S. Supreme Court considers a case that challenges the constitutionality of lethal injection for some inmates.
Perkins was convicted of raping and killing 7-year-old Lashenna "Jo Jo" Moore at her grandmother's Greenville apartment in 1992.
Moore's grandmother, who was dating Perkins at the time, says she is outraged at the decision.
"Its been painful -- mostly on Easter and her birthday. She would have been 18 this year," Thiea Moore said.
Perkins was charged and eventually convicted of Jo Jo's murder. Authorities say he sexually assaulted the little girl, then smothered her with a pillow.
When Perkins was sentenced to death, the girl's family thought their ordeal was over. Moore says she was furious when she learned Perkins death sentence was put on hold.
"It is not fair, because my baby didn't get a second chance. You know, I never believed in capital punishment until this happened, but people need to realize Jo Jo didn't get a second chance. She won't ever be able to play with her brothers and sisters or go to school," she said.
Moore says the death penalty is the only fair punishment for Perkins' crime. She has not given up hope, and says she has faith in the legal system.
"Yes, it hurts, but I know in the end justice will prevail," Moore said.
Pitt County District Attorney, Clark Everett, also supports execution in this case. He says no one is more deserving of the death penalty than Perkins.