Daughter of slain deputy supports clemency for Virginia death row inmate

07 July, 2017, 00:58 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
  • UN experts urge US state of Virginia to halt execution of man with mental disorder

More than 34,000 people, along with United Nations human rights experts and the daughter of the slain deputy, have asked McAuliffe to spare Morva's life on grounds that he is severely mentally ill.

"I am against the death penalty for religious and moral reasons", Ms Sutphin said in an email to reporters. "I have fought and will continue to fight for clemency for all death row inmates until Virginia declares the death penalty unconstitutional", she said. He was sentenced to death May 23, 2008.

Morva was in jail on attempted robbery charges in 2006 when he was taken to a hospital for treatment of a minor injury.

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They argue the jury was given incorrect information about the nature and severity of his illness, diagnosed by a forensic psychiatrist appointed by a federal judge years after his trial.

Morva was in custody in 2006 when he escaped from the hospital where he had been taken with concerns of a sprained leg and wrist after allegedly falling. He stole McFarland's gun, shot him in the face, and escaped.

"Over the past several weeks, my staff and I have carefully considered the petition for clemency submitted by William Morva, who was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death for the murder of Montgomery County Deputy Sheriff Corporal Eric Sutphin and hospital security guard Derrick McFarland".

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Before he was captured near Virginia Tech's Blacksburg campus a day later, Morva shot Sheriff's Deputy Eric Sutphin in the back of the head. "I am hopeful that Governor McAuliffe will listen to these calls and commute William's death sentence". She wrote that the fairness of Morva's trial has been reviewed repeatedly and upheld in the courts.

If carried out, Virginia will surpass Oklahoma for second place in a ranking of the U.S. states with the most executions, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

Morva's condition is such that he has ceased all communication with his legal team, gravely hampering their ability to defend him as his execution approaches. These experts thoroughly evaluated Mr. Morva and testified to the jury that, while he may have personality disorders, he did not suffer from any condition that would have prevented him from committing these acts consciously and fully understanding their consequences.

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Virginia legislators -13 delegates and five senators - also petitioned the governor to grant clemency.

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