News- Mark Warner grants Clemency for Robin Lovitt
By KRISTEN GELINEAU
- RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia's governor on Tuesday spared the life of a convicted killer who would have been the 1,000th person executed in the United States since the Supreme Court allowed capital punishment to resume in 1976.
- Robin Lovitt's death sentence was commuted to life in prison without parole a little more than 24 hours before he was to be executed by injection Wednesday night for stabbing a man to death with a pair of scissors during a 1998 pool-hall robbery.
- In granting clemency, Gov. Mark R. Warner noted that evidence from the trial had been improperly destroyed, depriving the defense of the opportunity to subject the material to the latest in DNA testing.
- "The commonwealth must ensure that every time this ultimate sanction is carried out, it is done fairly," Warner said in a statement.
- Warner, a Democrat, had never before granted clemency to a death row inmate during his four years in office. During that time, 11 men have been executed. Virginia is one of the most active death-penalty states, having executed 94 people since 1976.
- The 1,000th execution is now scheduled for Friday in North Carolina, where Kenneth Lee Boyd is slated to die for killing his estranged wife and her father.
This was a smart move by Warner.
Brian Patton has this.