No Second Chances: What to Do After a Botched Execution

Ohio tried and failed to execute Alva Campbell. The state shouldn't get a second chance.
The pathos and problems of America's death penalty were vividly on display yesterday when Ohio tried and failed to execute Alva Campbell. Immediately after its failure Gov. John Kasich set June 5, 2019, as a new execution date.
This plan for a second execution reveals a glaring inadequacy in the legal standards governing botched executions in the United States.
Campbell was tried and sentenced to die for murdering 18-year-old Charles Dials during a carjacking in 1997. After Campbell exhausted his legal appeals, he was denied clemency by the state parole board and the governor.
By the time the state got around to executing Campbell, he was far from the dangerous criminal of 20 years ago. As is the case with many of America's death-row inmates, the passage of time had inflicted its own punishments.
The inmate Ohio strapped onto the gurney was a 69-year-old man afflicted with serious ailm…

With Execution Date Approaching, Evidence Suggests Teleguz Is Innocent

Ivan Teleguz
Ivan Teleguz
Pressure is building on Governor Terry McAuliffe to grant clemency in the case of a former Harrisonburg man who could be executed later this month. New evidence suggests prosecutors and police used questionable tactics to convict him, and witnesses who pointed a finger at him are now admitting they lied.

Ivan Teleguz faces execution this month for a crime that supporters say he did not commit.

When a young Harrisonburg mother was brutally murdered more than a decade ago, police were anxious to find the killer, and DNA from the crime scene led to Michael Hetrick - a man who said he didn't even know Stephanie Sipe and had no motive to kill her. Detectives thought the woman's former boyfriend and the father of her child hired Hetrick, and they urged him to confirm that theory:

"The police just fed him every detail of their case. They even gave him this document that laid out their entire theory of the case, and said, 'We want you to read this so you can understand the facts of the case."

Elizabeth Peiffer - staff attorney at the Virginia Capital Representation Resource Center - says officers then called the Commonwealth's attorney, who said she would ask for the death penalty unless Hetrick could confirm that Ivan Teleguz was behind the killing.

"That if he didn't give them Ivan - if he didn't repeat this story back to them, his own life would be in jeopardy - that they would seek the death penalty, and he would get it," she explains.

Hetrick then said he was hired by Teleguz, and 2 other men testified that's what happened. One of them - an immigrant from Kyrgystan - was promised help in getting a visa from the federal government to save him from deportation. The other was told he might face the death penalty if he didn't implicate Teleguz.

In court, attorney Peiffer says, the prosecutor claimed Teleguz had also committed a murder in Pennsylvania.

"They told jurors that this is how he solves his problems. He has people commit murder for him, and jurors were really scared," she says. "They sent out a question to the judge during deliberations asking if he had their addresses, and the judge had them instructed that he did have this information, and jurors were so scared that they very quickly sentenced him to death."

But it turned out the Pennsylvania murder they described never happened, and the 2 men who originally linked Teleguz to the crime in Virginia have since said they lied. Now the Virginia Capital Representation Resource Center and the law firm Kirkland and Ellis are asking the governor to pardon Teleguz or at least commute his sentence so he won't be executed.

"We have asked that he grant a full pardon, because we believe the current state of the evidence, with 2 of the key prosecution witnesses recanting their testimony that no juror could have found him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt."

And, Peiffer says, public support for Teleguz, who - along with his family -- left the Soviet-controlled Ukraine as a child to avoid religious persecution, is growing.

"Not only do we have over 113,000 people signing his online petition. We have thousands of pages of letters that we've submitted to the governor, and we also have some really prominent people speaking out on Ivan's behalf. The Virginia Council of Churches and Religious Leaders had a presentation in front of the governor's office and presented a letter to the governor asking, particularly during this time of holy week, that the governor consider the problems of execution of an innocent man in Virginia, and then there was a letter that came out from conservative and libertarian leaders - 25 of them, and we've had a lot of political people come out as well."

Among them Delegates Simon and Hope from Northern Virginia. Peiffer says she hopes the public will weigh-in between now and the scheduled execution date - April 25th - by calling the governor and joining the chorus for clemency.

Source: WVTF news, April 13, 2017

20 Virginia Conservatives Call on Governor to Commute Death Sentence of Ivan Teleguz

Nicholas Cote is a former board member of the Republican Liberty Caucus of Virginia. He tells 88.9 WCVE the group represents a growing number of conservatives concerned with the death penalty and the risk of executing an innocent person.

"Every Virginian should want to make sure the criminal justice system works, and that is especially vital in a case like this because the death penalty cannot be undone. A possibly wrongful execution would be carried out in our name as Virginians, and that is unacceptable," said Cote.

In a letter to the Governor, Cote and others argue Virginia's case against Ivan Teleguz is weak since it relies on partially recanted testimony.

More than 10 years ago, Teleguz was convicted and sentenced to death for a murder-for-hire plot against his ex-girlfriend. He is now scheduled for execution April 25th.

Source: WCVE news, April 13, 2017

⚑ | Report an error, an omission, a typo; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; submit a piece, a comment; recommend a resource; contact the webmaster, contact us: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com.

Opposed to Capital Punishment? Help us keep this blog up and running! DONATE!

Most Viewed (Last 7 Days)

No Second Chances: What to Do After a Botched Execution

Nevada releases detailed manual on how it plans to execute death row inmate

Ohio: Alva Campbell execution delayed indefinitely

A Travelling Executioner

Iran: Prisoner Hanged in Public

Cruel and Unusual: A Second Failed Execution in Ohio

South Carolina's 1st execution in 6 years set for Dec. 1

Record 11 Taiwanese sentenced to death in Indonesia for drug crimes

Nevada refuses Pfizer demand to return drugs state plans to use in execution

Too Old and Too Sick to Execute? No Such Thing in Ohio.