Today, despite strong appeal for William Morva’s life from leading human rights advocates and thousands of people, Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that he was not going to commute William Morva’s death sentence, clearing the way for his execution set for 9 p.m. tonight. This would be the 113th execution in Virginia since 1976, when the U.S. Supreme Court brought back the death penalty.
The following statement may be attributed to ACLU of Virginia Executive Director Claire Guthrie Gastañaga:
“We are saddened beyond words that Gov. Terry McAuliffe has chosen to allow the execution of William Morva, a mentally ill man, despite strong appeals for clemency from state, national and international mental health and human rights advocates. This is more evidence that the death penalty must be repealed in Virginia, and that until that happens the layers of secrecy surrounding it must be peeled back. We grieve with the families of Derrick McFarland and Eric Sutphin, as well as with Mr. Morva’s loved ones. One tragedy does not justify another.”