The killers of Irishman Jason Corbett are expected to remain in prison for the foreseeable future after North Carolina's attorney general indicated he would be challenging the shock court ruling granting them a retrial.
Mr Corbett's father-in-law and wife, Tom and Molly Martens, could have been released from prison as early as St Patrick's Day had attorney general Joshua Stein not intervened.
The Limerick man was beaten to death with a paving block and a baseball bat at his home in Wallburg, North Carolina, in August 2015. He was 39.
Former FBI agent Mr Martens and his daughter Molly were both convicted of second-degree murder following a trial in 2017 and sentenced to 20 to 25 years in jail.
But to the shock and dismay of the Corbett family, North Carolina's Court of Appeal ruled earlier this month - by a majority of two to one - that there should be a retrial due to errors by the trial judge.
Mr Stein's intervention means the matter will instead go to the state's Supreme Court, where he will argue against any such retrial being granted.
In a petition filed with the North Carolina Supreme Court, Mr Stein said he was seeking a temporary stay on the enforcement of the retrial order and would be filing a notice of appeal, based on the views of the dissenting judge, within 15 days.
He will now seek to convince the Supreme Court that two of the three appeal court justices came to the wrong conclusion.
One of the appeal judges, Valerie Zachary, found there was "compounding evidentiary and instructional errors" before and during the three-week trial. As a result, she said the two defendants were "prevented from presenting a meaningful defence or from receiving the full benefit of their claims of self-defence and defence of a family member".