Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Nixon Denies Clemency for Skillicorn

Governor Jay Nixon has denied a clemency petition for Dennis Skillicorn, who is set to be put to death at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.

"After careful deliberation, I have denied this petition," the Governor wrote in a statement released late Tuesday.

"At the time he murdered Richard Drummond, Dennis Skillicorn was out on parole for another murder in Missouri. The jury that recommended the death sentence for Dennis Skillicorn took that previous murder conviction into consideration as an aggravating circumstance. The jury also took into account during the sentencing phase the fact that Richard Drummond was kidnapped and robbed before he was murdered. After more than a decade of legal challenges, both the conviction and the death sentence of Dennis Skillicorn have held up under extensive judicial review by the state and federal courts," Nixon went on. "The two murders for which Dennis Skillicorn was convicted in Missouri are not his only murder convictions. He also received life sentences after pleading guilty to murdering an Arizona couple in 1994, a few days after the Drummond murder."

"The jury that convicted Dennis Skillicorn determined that he deserved the most severe punishment under Missouri law, and my decision on clemency upholds the jury’s action," Nixon concluded.

The Governor also asked that Missourians remember and pray for Skillicorn's victims -- Richard Drummond, Joseph and Charlene Babcock and Wendell Howell.

SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL: "What I hate about what's going on this week, is there's a lot of talk about the person who's being executed and what he's been doing in terms of prison and not very many people are thinking about the victim."
DONNA WALMSLEY of Missourians To Abolish The Death Penalty: "Mr. Skillicorn, in his case, he's been doing so much good work in prison that it's a shame he will not be able to continue his good work. We do not believe an execution of someone solves anything."

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