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European Union trying to block William Morva execution

Morva is Hungarian-American

The Hungarian Government and European Union are trying to stop the execution of a Virginia inmate.

Morva was convicted of killing Montgomery County Sheriff's Deputy, Corporal Eric Sutphin, and security guard Derrick McFarland during a prison escape in 2006.

His lawyers filed a clemency petition Tuesday.

They said jurors did not know Morva suffered from a severe mental illness.

His attorneys want to commute his sentence to life in prison without parole.

Both Hungary and the European Union have reached out to Governor McAuliffe to stop the execution.

According to the Mercy for Morva Group, he is a Hungarian-American dual national.

Source: WSLS news, June 24, 2017

William Morva: "The trial experts lacked the complete picture," and that meant that the jury did, too

William Morva
William Morva
Morva was charged in 2005 in a series of botched robberies and burglaries.

In an attempted robbery, Morva, masked and carrying a shotgun, crept up to a convenience store, only to find the doors locked, then ran off and hid in woods - where police found him.

Jailed for a year while awaiting trial, Morva's mental health deteriorated. His mother did not bail him out, thinking that he would finally get psychological treatment.

Morva told his mother that he was dying, that someone was torturing him and intentionally withholding medical care - and with that mind-set, was convinced he had to flee.

"He believes anybody would have done exactly what he did," said Davison, the lawyer who has worked on Morva's appeals since 2009. The escape, she said, "was all part of this effort to save his life. He's incapable of seeing things any other way."

In August 2006, a deputy escorted Morva to the Montgomery Regional Hospital for minor injuries. In a bathroom, Morva knocked him unconscious and took his gun. Morva then shot McFarland, the unarmed hospital security guard, from 2 feet away as hospital colleagues watched in horror.

He killed Sutphin the next day as the deputy was on a wooded trail in the hunt for the fugitive. Morva shot Sutphin in the back of the head.

The jury that decided Morva's fate in 2008 heard from two doctors who diagnosed him with schizotypal personality disorder similar to schizophrenia. They noted his rigid thinking, odd behavior, and that Morva's maternal grandmother had been treated for schizophrenia in the 1950s. But the doctors told jurors that Morva was not delusional, an assessment his lawyers dispute - and a determination that later was rebutted by another doctor in what now is the key contention before McAuliffe.

Prosecutors portrayed Morva at trial as "extremely intelligent and extremely dangerous." The jury reviewed a letter Morva wrote to his mother 1 month after landing in jail, in which he promised to "kick an unarmed guard in the throat and then I will stomp him until he is as dead as I'll be."

Morva's lawyers acknowledged his horrible crimes but said Morva was "hurting the people that he thought would put him back in jail." The jury did not hear from Morva's mother, who said she wanted to testify to explain, not justify, his actions.

After 3 hours of deliberations, the jury imposed the death penalty.

Before the judge formally sentenced him to death, Morva, in his chance to address the court, called himself Nemo.

"I'm almost done. You may kill me, that's guaranteed. I can't fight. There's nothing more I can do. But there are others like me, and I hope you know that. And soon they're going to get together. They're going to sweep over your whole civilization and they're going to wipe these smiles off of your faces forever."

In the lengthy appeals process, a federal judge agreed to appoint a forensic psychiatrist to evaluate Morva.

By then, Davison and her colleagues had collected dozens of sworn statements. The trial experts, Davison said, had "lacked the complete picture," and that meant that the jury did, too.

High school classmates, roommates, relatives and co-workers swore to what they had observed up close and consistently in Morva during the years leading to the killings.

The new psychiatrist reviewed their statements and medical records and met with Morva in state prison in 2014.

She concluded that Morva's delusions began years before the murders and recommended antipsychotic medication.

Morva's appeals were restricted to narrow legal questions about his trial. The appeals courts could not take up the question of whether Morva was mentally ill when he killed McFarland and Sutphin.

"That's what the governor can do," Davison said. "The governor is his last hope."

It has been years since Morva accepted in-person visits from his lawyers and his mother.

He insists they are part of the conspiracy to kill him.

Long before Morva committed the murders, there were signs that he was not well. In his senior year at Blacksburg High School, Morva's parents moved back to the Richmond area, where his father had worked in engineering. Morva stayed behind but dropped out of school weeks before graduation.

In Blacksburg, he walked barefoot in winter and sometimes slept in the Jefferson National Forest, buried in piles of leaves. He was known at the local coffee shop for diatribes about politics and religion, and confided in family and close friends about what he said were special powers he possessed to fix the world's problems.

Morva's early encounters with police came in 2002 when he was 20. Friends say their free-spirited, compassionate classmate who had been active in Amnesty International became consumed by unusual eating patterns - large amounts of raw meat, nuts and pine cones - and spent hours in the bathroom.

In August 2002, Virginia Tech police found Morva after 9 p.m. half-naked on the floor of a women's bathroom on campus. Officers turned him over to the Blackburg police and called Elizabeth Morva.

"They said, 'Ma'am he's not normal.' I said, I'm beginning to realize that. And they said, 'Ma'am your son needs help.'"

Morva's mother, a classroom aide for special-education students, declined to be interviewed for this story. Her statements are drawn from transcripts of Morva's robbery trial and sworn written statements she submitted for her son's appeals.

At the time of his 2002 arrest, Morva's mother tried to get him help.

She asked police for a temporary detention order to force an evaluation.

But by then, Morva had calmed down and police said a detention order was not needed. Morva was instead charged with trespassing, released and banned from the university campus.

In the years that followed, Morva worked briefly at a hair salon, in construction and as a waiter. And at his father's funeral in early 2004, he showed up barefoot and disheveled.

At dinner with his mother soon after the funeral, Morva lectured loudly about the plight of indigenous people. He was in training, he told her, to live in the wild and fight on behalf of Native Americans.

Elizabeth Morva gently suggested her son see a therapist.

"His mind was not normal. His thoughts were not normal, they were disconnected," she said.

The next year, those undiagnosed, untreated problems landed Morva in jail, his supporters say.

Click here to read the full article

Source: The Washington Post, Ann E. Marimow, June 24, 2017


William Morva, a 35-year-old US-Hungarian national, is due to be executed in Virginia on 6 July. A psychiatrist has diagnosed him with delusional disorder, and concluded that this contributed to the crimes for which he was sentenced to death. The jury was not told that he had this serious mental disability.

Write a letter, send an email, call, fax or tweet:

* Calling for commutation of William Morva’s death sentence and medical care for his mental disability;

* Noting the diagnosis of delusional disorder, but that the jurors were told he had a less serious mental disability and did not experience delusions, denying them a full picture of who they were being asked to sentence;

* Explaining that you are not seeking to downplay the seriousness of violent crime or its consequences.

Friendly reminder: If you send an email, please create your own instead of forwarding this one!

Contact below official by 6 July, 2017 (by 22 June if possible, in case of early decision):

Governor Terry McAuliffe,
Common Ground for Virginia
P.O. Box 1475, Richmond,
VA 23218, USA

Phone: +1 804-786-2211 | Fax: +1 804-371-6531
Twitter: @TerryMcAuliffe

Salutation: Dear Governor

Note: The Governor’s contact form requires a US-based address and telephone number in order to submit an appeal. We encourage you to use the comment form on their website, and if you are based outside of the US, to instead use AI USA’s New York contact details as your address/telephone number:

Amnesty International USA New York Office
5 Penn Plaza, New York, NY, 10001, USA
Phone: 212.633.4187

⚑ | 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.

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