The U.S. Supreme Court today refused to stay the execution Wednesday of a man who was 17 when he killed the father of a federal appeals judge.

Napoleon Beazley's request was denied on a 3 to 3 vote after Justices Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia and David H. Souter recused themselves. Thomas, Scalia and Souter did not say why they withdrew from voting on the case, but all have ties to the victim's son, J. Michael Luttig, who sits on the Richmond-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Beazley, whose commutation request also was rejected today by the state parole board, has acknowledged murdering John Luttig, 63, during a 1994 carjacking in Tyler when Beazley, now 25, was 17. Luttig's wife, Bobbie, was shot at but crawled beneath the car and pretended to be dead.

The impending execution has drawn particular attention because of the prominence of the victim's son and because of Beazley's age at the time of the crime. Beazley is among 31 Texas death row prisoners who were 17 -- the minimum age to be sentenced to death -- at the time of their crime.

Nationally, he would be the 19th inmate since 1976 to be executed for a murder committed when the killer was younger than 18.

Amnesty International highlighted the case in a recent report. The American Bar Association, while it has no position on the death penalty in general, opposes it for anyone under 18.

Donald and Cedric Coleman, Beazley's accomplices, each received life sentences.

Scalia, for whom the younger Luttig had been a law clerk, previously had removed himself from the case. Luttig advised Souter and represented Thomas at his confirmation hearing. The court has yet to rule on a broader appeal of Beazley's case.