The scheduled execution of Albert Ray Beam, 26, has been stayed by a federal judge here, in part because of an appeals court ruling that judges should not decide whether convicted killers should be sentenced to death.

U.S. District Judge Harold Ryan on Monday signed an order delaying indefinitely the execution of Beam, who had been sentenced to die on Thursday for the 1983 rape-murder of a 13-year-old Nampa girl.The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals earlier ruled in an Arizona case that it was unconstitutional for a judge to decide whether the death penalty should be imposed in capital cases.

Third District Judge Gerald Weston earlier sentenced Beam to death by lethal injection early Thursday at the Idaho State Penitentiary, but Ryan cited the Arizona case as grounds for a delay for full consideration of Beam's petition for a writ of habeas corpus.