For decades, Missouri executions have been scheduled to start at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesdays. But beginning with an execution scheduled for March, that will change.

The Missouri Supreme Court on Friday set a March 17 execution date for Cecil Clayton, convicted of killing a southwest Missouri deputy in 1996. The execution is scheduled for a Tuesday, and is set to start at 6 p.m., though the court's execution order allows for it to occur anytime within a 24-hour period after that.

Missouri Department of Corrections spokesman David Owen says the change provides a time more practical for witnesses and for courts reviewing the case. He says the new time is more in line with start times in other states that carry out executions.

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