FEATURED POST

No Second Chances: What to Do After a Botched Execution

Image
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…

UN calls on Gov. McAuliffe to halt William Morva's execution

Two United Nations human rights experts are appealing to Gov. Terry McAuliffe to halt Thursday's scheduled execution by injection of William C. Morva.

Lawyers for Morva, 35, are seeking clemency from the governor arguing he suffers from delusional disorder and at the time of the slayings believed his life was in danger at the Montgomery County Jail, where he was held on robbery charges. They argue the jury was given incorrect information about the nature and severity of his illness.

In August 2006, Morva escaped from a hospital where he was taken for treatment of minor injuries and shot to death Derrick McFarland, 32, an unarmed security guard. The following day, he killed Eric Sutphin, 40, a sheriff’s deputy who was searching for the escapee. McFarland was shot in the face; Sutphin in the back of his head.

In a statement from the U.N. released Wednesday, Agnes Callamard, the special rapporteur for arbitrary executions, and Dainius Pūras, special rapporteur for mental health, said: “We are deeply concerned about information we have received indicating that Mr. Morva’s original trial did not meet fair trial safeguards, which include reasonable accommodation in all stages of the process, and may therefore have breached international standards."

Dawn Davison, one of Morva's lawyers, said in a prepared statement that, "The U.N. has added its voice to the more than 34,000 people who have pleaded with Governor McAuliffe to stop this senseless execution.

"William was denied a fair trial because the jurors were not told about his severe psychotic disorder, and that his crimes were a direct product of his delusions. Since the trial, William's mental health has continued to deteriorate because prison doctors have refused to treat him. I am hopeful that Governor McAuliffe will listen to these calls and commute William’s death sentence," she said.

Montgomery County Commonwealth's Attorney Mary K. Pettitt is urging McAuliffe to let the sentence be carried out, writing in a letter to the governor that the fairness of Morva's trial has been reviewed repeatedly in the courts and upheld.

She wrote that Morva was found to have a variety of personality disorders including schizotypal personality disorder with narcissistic features. That information was all available to Morva and his lawyers at the time of his trial and that it was "absurd" to contend 10 years after the trial that the original experts were wrong, wrote Pettitt.

The U.N. officials said Wednesday that Morva’s condition has caused him to cease all communication with his legal team hampering their ability to defend him as his execution approaches.

“We are concerned at Mr. Morva’s deteriorating psychosocial condition. The denial of reasonable accommodation in detention can be considered a form of discrimination against him because of his mental health condition,” they said.

A spokesman for the governor's office could not be immediately reached for comment Wednesday.

Morva is set to be executed at 9 p.m. Thursday in the death house at the Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt and if carried out will be the 113th execution in the state since the U.S. Supreme Court allowed capital punishment to resume in 1976, a toll second only to Texas, with 542, among states with the death penalty.

Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch, July 5, 2017


Daughter of one of Morva's victims seeks clemency for her father's killer


The daughter of one of two men slain by William C. Morva is asking Gov. Terry McAuliffe to spare his life.

In an email to members of the media on Wednesday, Rachel Sutphin, daughter of Eric Sutphin, wrote: "I am against the death penalty for religious and moral reasons. I have fought and will continue to fight for clemency for all death row inmates until Virginia declares the death penalty unconstitutional.

"I have sent my own letter to the governor showing my support for clemency," wrote Sutphin. Dawn Davison, one of Morva's lawyers, verified Rachel Sutphin's identity as the author.

Unless granted clemency by McAuliffe, Morva, 35, will die by injection Thursday at the Greensville Correctional Center.

His lawyers are asking that the death sentence be commuted to life without parole, arguing that he suffers from delusional disorder and at the time of the slayings believed his life was in danger at the Montgomery County Jail, where he was held on robbery charges. They argue that the jury was given incorrect information about the nature and severity of his illness.

In August 2006, Morva escaped from a hospital where he was taken for treatment of minor injuries and shot to death Derrick McFarland, 32, an unarmed security guard. The following day, he killed Sutphin, 40, a sheriff’s deputy who was searching for the escapee. McFarland was shot in the face; Sutphin in the back of his head.

Other surviving relatives of the victim have not responded to requests for comment.

Montgomery County Commonwealth's Attorney Mary K. Pettitt is urging McAuliffe to let the sentence be carried out, writing in a letter to the governor that the fairness of Morva's trial has been reviewed repeatedly in the courts and upheld.

She wrote that Morva was found to have a variety of personality disorders including schizotypal personality disorder with narcissistic features. That information was all available to Morva and his lawyers at the time of his trial and it is "absurd" to contend 10 years after the trial that the original experts were wrong, wrote Pettitt.

Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch, Frank Green, July 5, 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!

Comments

Most Viewed (Last 7 Days)

Ohio: Alva Campbell execution delayed indefinitely

Here's as Crazy a Death Penalty Story as You'll Find

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

A Travelling Executioner

No Second Chances: What to Do After a Botched Execution

Ohio: Alva Campbell will get wedge-shaped pillow for execution; his death could become a “spectacle”

Nevada death row inmate placed on suicide watch

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

Arizona: Man sentenced to death in 2011 death of 10-year-old locked in storage box

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