Gov. McDonnell: 'decline to intervene' in execution

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Governor Bob McDonnell issued the following statement today on the scheduled execution of Paul Warner Powell.

"On January 15, 2003, Paul Warner Powell was convicted in Prince William County Circuit Court of the brutal capital murder and attempted rape of sixteen year old Stacie Lynn Reed.  Powell was previously convicted of the rape and attempted murder of Stacie's fourteen year-old sister.

"On May 8, 2003, the trial court, in accordance with the jury's verdict and recommendation, sentenced Powell to death.  Powell admitted to the murder and attempted rape, and thus Powell's guilt is not at issue.  On January 27, 2010, the Circuit Court set the execution date for March 18, 2010.

"On February 23, 2010, Powell filed a petition for clemency requesting that I commute the sentence of death to a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.

"Powell's trial, verdict and sentence have been reviewed and affirmed by state and federal courts, including the Supreme Court of Virginia, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court.  I have considered the petitioner's principal arguments concerning gubernatorial conflict and prejudicial errors in the admission of evidence, and found them not to warrant commutation.

"After conferring with the appropriate parties, as well as thoroughly reviewing the clemency petition and the judicial opinions regarding this case, I find no compelling reason to set aside the sentence that was selected by the jury and imposed and affirmed by the courts.

"Accordingly, I decline to intervene."

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