VIRGINIA, USA. HIGH COURT STAYS LOVITT EXECUTION
July 12, 2005: the US Supreme Court granted a last-minute stay of execution to Robin Lovitt, a man convicted of murder in Virginia, because much of the evidence was accidentally destroyed. Lovitt, 41, was scheduled to die on July 11 at 9 pm, but at 4:30, the high court stayed his sentence until autumn, when it will study whether he should be re-sentenced. Lovitt's family had already said their goodbyes to him. He was convicted of stabbing a pool hall manager to death with a pair of scissors in Arlington, Va., in 1998. Prosecutors had argued that Lovitt was high on crack when he was confronted by the man while trying to steal the cash register.
However, four years ago, a court clerk mistakenly destroyed nearly all the evidence from his trial, including DNA from the pair of scissors.
Lovitt's attorneys argued in their appeal the mistake took away Lovitt's last chance to prove his innocence -- through post-conviction DNA testing, which other inmates have used to clear themselves. (Sources: Washington Post, 12/07/2005)