Shaban Athuman / Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP
Even one of Sutphin’s daughters
urged him to grant clemency, saying she opposes the death penalty on moral and religious groups. The deputy’s mother, however, said she wanted the execution to go forward.
Mary Pettitt, the prosecutor in the case, praised the governor’s decision.
“I appreciate the Governor’s acknowledgement that whether or not you believe in the death penalty it is the law of our Commonwealth and that as government officials we have taken an oath to uphold the laws enacted by the lawfully elected representatives of the people,” she said.
But Amnesty International called McAuliffe’s decision “appalling.”
“Mr. Morva’s deeply flawed case is not an aberration. It is typical of a death penalty system that is broken beyond repair, and the consequences are a matter of life and death,” the group said in a statement.
Morva’s execution was the first in Virginia since the state put in place secrecy procedures that critics say are intended to keep any missteps out of public view.