Despite International Pressure, Virginia Man Executed

Supporters who tried to convince Terry McAuliffe, the governor of Virginia, that a man sentenced to die suffered from mental illness failed in their attempts as the convicted double murderer was put to death last Thursday. Governor McAuliffe did not grant clemency to William Morva, a Hungarian national convicted of killing a sheriff’s deputy and a security guard in 2008.

According to Jurist.org, a psychiatrist appointed by the courts diagnosed Morva with a delusional disorder. Supporters who wanted the governor to grant clemency said Morva was not mentally fit when he committed his crimes. The psychiatrist stated that Morva may have been suffering from delusions at the time the murders occurred.

Human rights workers from the UN pleaded with Governor McAuliffe to grant clemency, stating Morva did not receive the “proper accommodations” during trial, and that the courts nor the prosecution did not notify the jury Morva was mentally ill. Although McAuliffe opposes the death penalty, he released a statement saying Morva was given a fair trial and there was substantial evidence presented to the jury regarding Morva’s mental health issues. The governor concluded by saying in the statement that there was not enough evidence to justify overturning the decision of the jury. Dozens of members of Virginia’s General Assembly and three house representatives from the state opposed the execution of Morva.

The death penalty remains a hot topic of conversation nationwide. The governor of Florida, Rick Scott, recently scheduled the execution of a man convicted of murder, which will be state’s first execution in over 18 months. The state had halted the death penalty when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the way Florida handed down death sentences was unconstitutional. A new Florida law took effect in March that only allows judges to sentence defendants to the death penalty if there is unanimous consent by the jury.

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