Virginia Governor Denies Request to Delay Execution

29 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Convicted killer who claims disability to be executed in Virginia.

Virginia is poised to execute a convicted serial killer, who claims he’s intellectually disabled, using lethal injection drugs from Texas because the state’s supply of another controversial drug will expire the day before the execution is supposed to take place.Lawyers for the convict — who was on death row in California from 1990 until his transfer to Virginia, when he was found guilty of the rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl — want him to be returned to the golden state, where they believe he will receive a fair assessment of his alleged handicap, The Associated Press reported.

“After a thorough review of the facts of this case, the actions of the various federal and state courts, and the petitions and recommendations of individuals representing both Mr.According to a court filing, the lawyer for an Oklahoma death row inmate is claiming that his client shouldn’t have to use an alternative to pentobarbital, one of the chemicals in the lethal injection cocktail.Texas prison officials are providing their Virginia counterparts with pentobarbital, a lethal drug that corrections agencies nationwide have had difficulty obtaining, in advance of a scheduled execution in Virginia on October 1. Unless Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, or the US supreme court steps in this week, Alfredo Prieto will be the first Virginia inmate to be executed in nearly three years on Thursday.

The attorneys argue that Prieto’s upbringing in his native El Salvador has hindered his ability to maintain proper brain function and keep control of his actions. As they wait for McAuliffe to make a decision, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice confirmed that it sent three vials of the execution drug pentobarbital to Virginia. His is the third execution the US will carry out this week, after the planned lethal injections of Kelly Gissendaner in Georgia on Tuesday and Richard Glossip in Oklahoma on Wednesday. Since capital punishment was re-authorized by the Supreme Court in 1976, there have been 110 executions in the Commonwealth of Virginia — which places it third in the nation for the most carried out in that time. Texas and Oklahoma are among a handful of states with laws — being challenged by death penalty opponents — that allow prison officials not to disclose where they get execution drugs.

There is also growing political pressure since public support for the death penalty has reached its lowest numbers in 40 years, according to a Pew Research Center poll conducted in April. It is not saying where it’s getting it and by a new state law it doesn’t have to right now.” Langford says there’s nothing illegal about Texas selling its pentobarbital – where the source is from – to other states. “In fact, in 2014 when Texas was low on pentobarbital, the state of Virginia – the Virginia Department of Corrections there – transferred or sent over pentobarbital to Texas,” she says. Texas has said it buys its pentobarbital from a compounding pharmacy because traditional drug manufacturers have balked at providing drugs for use in executions. Authorities have said DNA and ballistics evidence has linked Prieto to several other killings in California and Virginia but he was never prosecuted because he had already been sentenced to death. Evidence of a third Northern Virginia slaying, of Veronica “Tina” Jefferson in Arlington in May 1988, was also presented to the jury during its sentencing phases.

Matthew Raver, Rachael Raver’s brother, said Prieto’s seemingly endless efforts to delay his execution have felt like “salt in the wound” for his family, which remains devastated by his sister’s death nearly three decades later. McAuliffe is now in the position of being the third sitting Democratic governor — joining Missouri and Delaware — to execute an order of capital punishment.

Supreme Court ruled that the three-drug execution cocktail that the state uses there – midazolam, pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride – did not constitute cruel and unusual punishment. As a child, Prieto struggled with learning and was quiet and withdrawn, often sitting alone and “staring blankly at nothing,” Prieto’s attorneys said last week in their request to McAuliffe to delay the execution. During trials in Fairfax in 2007 and 2008, defense lawyers presented evidence that Prieto’s IQ fell below the state standard for mental retardation. In order to prove that Oklahoma did not try hard enough to find more humane alternatives to its execution cocktail, Glossip’s attorneys must establish that alternatives are available. With Prieto’s appeals nearly exhausted, McAuliffe said Monday that he had thoroughly reviewed the facts and legal proceedings of the case, and “I have decided not to intervene in this execution.

Although the two medical centers contracted to provide health care to inmates — Texas Tech University and the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston — do have compounding licenses, Clark said neither of them has been asked to provide the drug. “We would not utilize them,” Clark said. Pharmacies with the appropriate licensing can mix a batch of pentobarbital, and Texas turned to compounding pharmacies in 2013 because manufacturers of the drug stopped selling to the prison system. Langford says the federal attorneys are asking why Oklahoma can’t just ask Texas for the pentobarbital. “It’s a counter-intuitive argument,” Langford says. “Because we’ve got federal public defenders asking for an alternative lethal drug.” States across the nation have struggled to obtain execution drugs because pharmaceutical companies have been pressured to stop selling them to prisons for lethal injections.

But Prieto’s attorneys and advocates for people with intellectual disabilities say his cognitive strengths are irrelevant. “You shouldn’t discard the idea that someone has an intellectual disability just because they have a girlfriend or a job,” said Rob Lee, one of Prieto’s lawyers. The legislation, Senate Bill 1679, was intended to protect the companies providing the drugs from harassment and threats, according to author state Sen.

I will continue to pray for all of the individuals and families affected by these tragic and horrible crimes.” In Prieto’s first Fairfax trial in 2007, a jury rejected the mental retardation defense and convicted Prieto of capital murder. Prietohas also asked the justices to rule on the constitutionality of Virginia’s policy of automatically placing death row inmates in solitary confinement. But the state hasn’t executed an inmate since January 2013, when Robert Gleason Jr was put to death in the state’s electric chair, which inmates can choose over lethal injection. At a second trial in 2008, the jury again rejected the retardation defense, convicted Prieto and voted for two death sentences, which Bellows imposed.

In 2011, the European Union put severe restrictions on exports of drugs commonly used in executions, while several domestic drug manufacturers began cutting off supplies. Dede Raver, Rachael Raver’s sister, said she believes Prieto’s execution will help her and others who were affected by the killings to close a long and painful chapter in their lives. “I have no interest in taking someone’s life away, but honestly I feel like Prieto will return to hell,” she said. “This man is so evil and he has no regard for human life.”

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