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07 July 2017, 01:00 | Kara Nash
Virginia Department of Corrections via AP
The daughter of a slain Montgomery County Sheriff's deputy has asked Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe to spare his killer's life. During the escape, Morva fatally shot Derrick McFarland, a hospital security guard.
Morva is scheduled to die at 9 p.m. Thursday at Greensville Correctional Facility in Jarratt, by lethal injection.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe declined to halt the execution of William Morva Thursday, despite a chorus of voices at home and overseas calling for clemency amid questions regarding his mental stability. Since then, his attorneys have argued that Morva suffers from a serious delusional disorder.
In a joint statement, United Nations special rapporteur for arbitrary executions, Agnes Collamard, and special rapporteur for mental health, Dainius Puras, said, "We are deeply concerned about information we have received indicating that Mr. Morva's original trial did not meet fair trial safeguards". The next day, Mr. Morva murdered Corporal Sutphin by shooting him in the back of the head.
The next morning, Morva shot and killed Sutphin who attempted to capture him.
Sutphin said in an email to reporters Wednesday that she is "against the death penalty for religious and moral reasons". "I just want justice for my son". I have fought and will continue to fight for clemency for all death row inmates until Virginia declares the death penalty unconstitutional.
Others have written McAuliffe on Morva's behalf, including local politicians and even global diplomats (Morva has dual citizenship with both the United States and Hungary).
Jeaneen Sutphin, the deputy's mother, said she hopes the execution proceeds as scheduled, but feels empathy for Morva's family. Morva's attorneys say jurors weren't informed that his crimes were the result of a severe mental illness that prevents him from distinguishing between delusions and reality.
It is not known when McAuliffe, who had been on a trade mission in Europe until last Friday, will reach a decision Thursday. A court-appointed psychiatrist diagnosed Morva with delusional disorder and believes that he may have committed the murders due to delusions he was experiencing.
"I personally oppose the death penalty; however, I took an oath to uphold the laws of this Commonwealth regardless of my personal views of those laws, as long as they are being fairly and justly applied".
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