Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Montana: Smith Makes Last Plea

54-year old Ronald Smith, the only Canadian on death row in the United States, will be begging the Montana Parole Board to commute his sentence to life in prison. He was sentenced to death in 1983 after he shot two cousins in the head. The board will listen to testimony from more than two dozen witnesses and Smith will testify himself. It is reported that a document "inadvertently released" by the board last month "showed that parole board staff is recommending that Smith's request be rejected."

The ultimate decision, however, lies with Gov. Brian Schweitzer, who "has told the family of the victims that he will think of them, and their desire to see the death penalty carried out, in making any decision."

Smith argues his is "a far different person" than he was at the time of the murder, when he was 23 years old. He also says he was "heavily intoxicated" that day and "doesn't have a strong recollection of the men he killed."

The Canadian government supports clemency for Smith. The Montana attorney general's office, the Blackfeet Tribal Council, and most of the family members of the victim from that area are in favor of carrying out the death penalty.  is also defend the original conviction. See story here.

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