The Utah Supreme Court agreed Monday to stay the execution of ax murderer Elroy Tillman while he appeals his conviction and death sentence to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Utah justices gave defense attorney James N. Barber 10 days to file a motion for a new stay, which would remain in effect until the U.S. Supreme Court disposes of the appeal.The Utah attorney general's office wanted the Utah court to lift the stay currently in place in the Tillman case. Assistant Utah Attorney General Sandra Sjogren reminded the justices that they rejected Tillman's appeal in February and argued that the stay should thus be lifted to allow the state to seek a new death warrant.

But the justices seemed to think it didn't make much sense to waste resources getting a new death warrant when an appeal and a new stay were almost certainly forthcoming.

Tillman, 51, was convicted of murdering with an ax and then setting aflame the body of his ex-girlfriend's boyfriend in 1983.