Kentucky Execution Halted

Pope, Bishops Had Sought Clemency for Inmate

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LOUISVILLE, Kentucky, SEPT. 13, 2010 ( A judge in Kentucky has halted the Thursday execution of Gregory L. Wilson on the grounds that the state’s protocol for administering a lethal injection is in need of review.

Franklin County Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd made the ruling Friday, the day after Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville and Marian McClure Taylor, executive director of the Kentucky Council of Churches, met Thursday with the state governor, Steve Beshear, to appeal for a stay of execution and commutation of Wilson’s death sentence.

In that meeting, Archbishop Kurtz presented to the governor a letter from Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio to the United States, in which he requested, on behalf of the Pope, a commutation of the death sentence.

Wilson was convicted in 1988 for kidnapping, raping and murdering a woman named Deborah Pooley.

Shepherd ruled that the protocol for lethal injections needs to address inconsistencies with state law, and needs to provide a safeguard against the execution of persons who are either mentally retarded or criminally insane.

state’s protocol for an execution is inconsistent with the state’s law and doesn’t provide a safeguard to prevent a mentally retarded or criminally insane inmate from being executed.

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