Death row Scot Kenny Richey has been returned to jail in Ohio following a heart scare.
Kenny Richey has spent two decades on death row
Richey had been due to attend a court hearing which would have seen him set free when he suffered from chest pains.
Instead he was taken from Putnam County Prison to a nearby medical centre for treament while his court date was rescheduled for January.
Mr Richey has been on death row in the US for 21 years after being convicted for a fire which killed a toddler.
His brother Steve Richey spoke to him on Friday and said that tests had revealed that he had about 60% blockage in his heart and will need an operation.
But Richey, 43, wants to have the operation after he is released and not delay his
return to freedom, his brother said.
His lawyer Ken Parsigian said: "He is back in jail but he is happy.
"We are trying to find a date next week that we can do the hearing and do the
"It will happen before 8 January but we don't know the date."
At the hearing on Thursday, Richey was to plead no contest to attempted
involuntary manslaughter, child endangering and breaking and entering and be
sentenced to time already served in the 1986 death of a toddler in an apartment
A no contest plea is not an admission of guilt, but a statement that no defence
will be presented.
Richey was put on death row in January 1987 after being convicted of starting a
fire in which two-year-old Cynthia Collins died.
Prosecutors claimed he began the fire as a jealous attack on his former
girlfriend and her new lover, who lived in the flat beneath.
The Scot, who has always protested his innocence, refused a plea bargain which
would have led to an 11-year sentence for arson and manslaughter.
He came within an hour of execution 13 years ago.