The Georgia parole board granted clemency to a death row inmate on Thursday, hours before he was to be executed for the murder of a convenience store clerk three decades ago. Georgia’s Board of Pardons and Paroles said in a statement they commuted the death sentence of 58-year-old Jimmy Fletcher Meders to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.  He had been scheduled to be executed by lethal injection at 7 p.m. EST.

The parole board said in a statement that Meders’ lack of a criminal record before the murder and his good behavior while in prison were reasons it granted clemency. The board also said it granted clemency because of “the jury’s explicit desire during deliberations to impose a life without parole sentence which was legally unavailable at the time, and every living, able juror’s continued support for such a sentence.”

The parole board made its decision following a meeting on Wednesday and after it reviewed Meders’ clemency application.

Georgia board spares prisoner’s life hours before execution