LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A federal judge has blocked the execution of one of the eight inmates Arkansas was planning to put to death this month.

U.S. District Judge D. Price Marshall Jr. issued the decision Thursday in the case of Jason McGehee. The Arkansas Parole Board a day earlier had recommended that Governor Asa Hutchinson grant mercy to McGehee.

“The victims’ families have waited far too long to see justice for their loved ones, and today’s decision from Judge Marshall allows all but one of the scheduled executions to move forward," said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge in a released statement. "We will respond to any and all challenges that might occur between now and the executions as the prisoners continue to use all available means to delay their lawful sentences.”

With a key lethal injection drug expiring at the end of the month, the Arkansas Department of Correction hopes to execute eight men in a 10-day period beginning April 17.