A 2010 booking photo of death row inmate and convicted serial murderer and rapist Danny Bible. Picture: Texas Department of Criminal Justice/Handout via Reuters

Austin, Texas - The US Supreme Court struck down a last-minute appeal to spare the life of a man dubbed the "ice pick killer" for the weapon he used to murder a woman in 1979, allowing Texas to execute him on Wednesday.

Lawyers for serial murderer and rapist Danny Bible, 66, asked the court to halt the execution, arguing he suffers from numerous ailments and his veins are too compromised for a lethal injection.

Bible is set to die in the state's death chamber in Huntsville at 6 p.m. (2300 GMT). The court did not elaborate on its decision to reject the appeal that came about 30 minutes before the scheduled execution.

The execution would be the 12th this year in the United States and the seventh in 2018 in Texas, which has executed more inmates than any state since the US Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.

Bible was convicted of the rape and murder of Inez Deaton, 20, who went to his home to use his phone and was stabbed 11 times with an ice pick. Her body was dumped near a Houston bayou.

The crime went unsolved for nearly 20 years until Bible confessed to the ice pick murder and other sexual assaults that included raping an 11-year-old girl in Montana. He had gone on a rape and murder spree that included the 1983 killing of his sister-in-law, her infant son and her roommate, court records show.

After a plea deal for a 25-year sentence in those killings, Bible served eight years and was paroled. After his early release under a program Texas has since abandoned, he raped a woman in Louisiana and was apprehended in Florida. Soon afterward he admitted to the ice pick murder.

Shortly after his death sentence was imposed in 2003, Bible was in a prison bus crash that left him confined to a wheelchair.

Texas prison officials have said they are confident they can carry out Bible's lethal injection.

Bible's lawyers said there was undeniable evidence his recent medical deterioration has rendered his veins inaccessible or incapable of sustaining a lethal injection.

Two executions of inmates with compromised veins have been botched recently, one in Ohio and another in Alabama. Their lawyers warned courts the men were too frail and their veins were not suitable.

In both cases, the states were unable to place intravenous lines and called off their executions while the inmates were on death chamber gurneys.