Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Daughter of Slain Man Asks Governor to Spare Killer's Life

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Daughter of Slain Man Asks Governor to Spare Killer's Life

Article excerpt

RICHMOND, Va. * The daughter of a sheriff's deputy killed by a man set to be executed in Virginia said Wednesday that she had urged the state's governor to spare the man's life.

William Morva is scheduled to receive a lethal injection Thursday for the 2006 killings of Derrick McFarland, a hospital security guard, and Eric Sutphin, a sheriff's deputy.

Rachel Sutphin, the deputy's daughter, said she was among those urging Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, to halt Morva's execution.

"I am against the death penalty for religious and moral reasons," Sutphin said in an email to reporters. "I have fought and will continue to fight for clemency for all death row inmates until Virginia declares the death penalty unconstitutional. I have sent my own letter to the Governor showing my support for clemency," she said.

Morva was awaiting trial on attempted robbery charges in 2005 when he was taken to the hospital to have an injury treated. There, he attacked a sheriff's deputy with a metal toilet paper holder, stole the deputy's gun and shot McFarland in the face from 2 feet away before fleeing. McFarland was unarmed.

A day later, Morva killed Eric Sutphin with a bullet in the back of the head. The sheriff's deputy had been searching for Morva near Virginia Tech's Blacksburg campus when he was shot. Morva was later found in a ditch with the deputy's gun nearby.

Morva's attorneys argue his crimes were the result of a severe mental illness that makes it impossible for him to distinguish between delusions and reality.

Jurors were told Morva suffered from a personality disorder that resulted in "odd beliefs." He has since been diagnosed with delusional disorder, a more severe mental illness akin to schizophrenia, his attorneys say.

Before his escape, Morva told his mother that his health was "dwindling" and that someone in jail wanted him to die. …

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