Activists in the US have opposed the death penalty on the grounds that it amounts to cruelty [GALLO/GETTY]

US prison officials in Georgia have delayed the execution of a death row inmate who would have been the subject of the nation's first videotaped execution in nearly two decades.

It was not immediately clear why the state corrections department rescheduled the execution of Andrew Grant DeYoung for Thursday at 7pm local time.

The move came less than an hour after the US supreme court had denied DeYoung's bid to halt the execution.

When asked why the execution had been pushed back, Sam Olens, the attorney general, said the delay was due to reasons "broader" than the video taping.

The decision to tape the procedure came after attorneys for another death row inmate claimed that one of the drugs used might cause unnecessary suffering.

The Georgia supreme court earlier upheld a request by another death row inmate to videotape DeYoung's execution as part of his challenge to the state's execution procedure.

Experts say it would be the first known recording of an execution since 1992 in California. In that case, the state's method of execution using lethal gas was being challenged. The tape was later destroyed.

Slain parents

DeYoung was sentenced to die for the 1993 slayings of his parents and teenage sister in suburban Atlanta.

His attorneys argued that the state's use of pentobarbital as part of a lethal three-drug combination violated the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment. But state and federal courts rejected the arguments.

Prosecutors also challenged a request to videotape the execution that was filed by Brian Kammer, an attorney for another death row inmate Gregory Walker.

Kammer said he wanted to preserve "the best evidence possible" for his client's challenge to the state's method of lethal injection.

State attorneys urged the Georgia Supreme Court to reverse a judge's ruling allowing the execution to be taped, worrying that it could set a troubling precedent.

Texas execution

A Texas inmate was executed by lethal injection on Wednesday for killing a Dallas-area shop assistant during a shooting spree that he claimed was retaliation for the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

Mark Stroman, 41, was pronounced dead at 8:53pm local time, less than an hour after his final court appeal was rejected.

Stroman claimed the shooting spree that killed two men and injured a third in late 2001 targeted people from the Middle East, though all three victims were from South Asia.

It was the death of 49-year-old Vasudev Patel, from India, that put Stroman on death row.

The lone survivor, Rais Bhuiyan, unsuccessfully sued to stop the execution, saying his religious beliefs as a Muslim told him to forgive Stroman. The courts denied his requests.

Stroman's execution was the eighth this year in Texas. At least eight other inmates in the nation's busiest death penalty state have execution dates in the coming weeks.

Source: Agencies