Monday, June 9, 2008

Virginia: Attorney General Disagrees with Commutation

Attorney General Bob McDonnell issued a statement this evening saying he disagrees with Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's decision to commute the death sentence of Percy Levar Walton, who murdered three people in Danville in 1996. Says McDonnell:

“Governor Kaine is within his authority under the Virginia Constitution to grant clemency when the ends of justice require it. Under the law, a person who is mentally incompetent may not be executed. Walton’s mental health status was fully adjudicated in multiple courts. Each concluded that he is not incompetent or mentally retarded. The United States Supreme Court denied Walton’s petition in which he argued that he is incompetent and requested that his execution be stayed.

“The United States Supreme Court has made clear that new evidence of incompetency to be executed may be presented in court when that evidence arises. Nothing has prevented Walton from bringing such evidence to the federal courts for further review in light of the U.S. constitutional standard. Evidence of an inmate’s competency is more effectively evaluated by a judicial officer. Thus I respectfully disagree with the Governor’s decision that clemency is now warranted in this case.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the families of Walton’s three murder victims, Jessie and Elizabeth Kendrick, and Archie Moore, Jr., who have suffered for more than 11 years.”

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