Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Virginia: Piling on the Gov.'s Commutation

Yesterday, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine commuted the death sentence of Percy Levar Walton, who murdered three people in Danville in 1996 (see the Governor's statement here). Attorney General Bob McDonnell then issued a statement (here) saying he disagrees with the decision. Now, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling has issued the following statement:

“I was very disappointed by Gov. Kaine’s decision to commute the death sentence of Percy Walton. The Governor’s decision is inconsistent with the findings of the courts, and it sets a very dangerous precedent for evaluating cases of this nature in the future.

“In 1996, Percy Walton brutally murdered three innocent people in Danville. He had been tried and convicted of these charges and the court had decided that he should be put to death for these crimes. Walton’s conviction and sentence had subsequently been reviewed by Virginia courts and federal courts, and these courts had consistently found that Walton was mentally competent and eligible for execution under the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

“While the imposition of the death penalty should never be undertaken lightly, there are certain cases where the death penalty is an appropriate punishment for the crimes committed. That is certainly true in this case. By unilaterally concluding that Walton is mentally incompetent and substituting his own judgment for that of the courts, Gov. Kaine has done an injustice to the families of Percy Walton’s victims and set a very dangerous precedent for evaluating such cases in the future.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims of Percy Walton’s brutal crimes.”

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