MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama on Tuesday asked an appellate court to allow the execution of an inmate convicted of killing a police officer in 1997.

The Alabama attorney general’s office asked the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a stay that is blocking the execution of Torrey Twane McNabb. McNabb is one of several inmates in an ongoing lawsuit challenging the state’s use of the sedative midazolam at the start of executions, saying it would not reliably render them unconscious before other drugs stopped their lungs and heart.

“Alabama has already carried out four executions using this protocol. Three of those executed inmates were co-plaintiffs in this case, and their stay requests were denied by both the Supreme Court and this Court,” the Alabama attorney general’s office wrote in the court filing.

McNabb was convicted of killing Montgomery police officer Anderson Gordon in 1997. Prosecutors say McNabb shot Gordon multiple times after the officer arrived at the scene of a crash that McNabb caused while fleeing a bail bondsman.

An attorney for McNabb urged the appellate judges to keep the execution on hold since the 11th Circuit last month ruled in the inmates’ favor and said a federal judge prematurely dismissed their lawsuit.

“This court ordered that Mr. McNabb was entitled to further proceedings on the merits of his case challenging the constitutionality of Alabama’s execution protocol,” attorney John Palombi wrote.

McNabb was scheduled to receive a lethal injection on Thursday, but a federal judge on Monday issued a stay in order to have time to hold the proceedings ordered by the 11th Circuit. U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins wrote it “would require nothing short of Circe’s magical powers” to have a trial completed on the matter by Oct. 19.

“There is insufficient time prior to October 19 to address deliberatively the full panoply of weighty, life-involved issues presented. Because the prejudice to McNabb — his execution — is so great, the equities strongly outweigh the state’s interest in executing McNabb as scheduled on October 19,” U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins wrote.