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William Morva
Convicted murderer William Morva, right, talks with his attorney Tony Anderson in Washington County Circuit Court in Abingdon Va. Thursday, March 13, 2008. The jury in Virginia has begun deliberating whether an escaped inmate convicted of capital murder should be put to death or receive life in prison without parole. (AP Photo / Matt Gentry, POOL)

Virginia’s governor won’t stop William Morva’s execution



Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) on Thursday said he will not prevent William Morva’s execution scheduled for 9 p.m. that evening.

Morva, 32, will reportedly receive a lethal injection after being sentenced to death for killing a hospital guard and a sheriff’s deputy during an escape from jail custody in 2006.

“I have determined that Mr. Morva was given a fair trial and that the jury heard substantial evidence about his mental health as they prepared to sentence him in accordance with the laws of our Commonwealth,” McAuliffe said in a statement.

“In short, the record before me does not contain sufficient evidence to warrant the extraordinary step of overturning the decision of a lawfully empaneled jury following a properly conducted trial.”

Some Twitter users on Thursday urged McAuliffe to grant Morva clemency due to the convict’s struggles with mental illness.

NBC News reported that McAuliffe has previously let two other executions in Virginia proceed despite his personal opposition to the punishment.

McAuliffe has also reportedly commuted one inmate’s sentence, but declined to perform the same action for Morva.

Morva was reportedly sentenced to death in 2008 after murdering security guard Derrick McFarland and Montgomery County sheriff’s deputy Eric Sutphin two years before.

Lawyers for Morva argued he suffered from severe mental illness and believed he was acting in self-defense when escaping jail in 2006.

The jury who sentenced Morva to death was reportedly told he was afflicted with a personality disorder.

Morva will be put to death using a controversial drug called midazolam, which critics say has played a role in several unnecessarily grueling executions.

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