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John Spirko
John Spirko
OHIO (USA). GOVERNOR COMMUTES DEATH SENTENCE

January 9, 2008: Death row inmate John Spirko, 61, wanted a pardon or the chance to leave prison and prove his innocence. He got neither, though he did escape execution.
Gov. Ted Strickland commuted Spirko's death sentence to life in prison, a week after the state attorney general's office said it had concluded no DNA evidence linked Spirko to a 26-year-old murder.
Strickland made clear he wasn't convinced of Spirko's innocence. But he said he couldn't ignore the lack of physical evidence linking Spirko to the 1982 slaying of Betty Jane Mottinger and "the slim residual doubt" about Spirko's responsibility for it.
Those factors make "the imposition of the death penalty inappropriate in this case," said Strickland, a death penalty supporter.
Spirko's attorneys had asked for a full pardon, a conditional pardon or a commutation to time served, all of which would have allowed Spirko to be released.
Strickland said state and federal courts reviewed and upheld Spirko's conviction and the parole board twice rejected his petition for clemency. Under the commutation order, Spirko will not be eligible for parole.
"At times, when he wasn't denying having committed the murder, he appears to have admitted doing so," Strickland said. "Spirko's claims that his own lies led to his conviction for an offense that he did not commit are unpersuasive in the face of the judicial scrutiny this case has received."
Spirko's attorneys said they were disappointed that Strickland did not free him.
"There can be no joy in the commutation of an innocent man's sentence to life without parole," attorneys Tom Hill and Alvin Dunn said in a statement.
"The positive thing about Gov. Strickland's commutation is that the state will now not execute an innocent man and that we can, and will, continue to fight for Mr. Spirko's complete exoneration and release," the statement said. (Sources: AP, 09/01/2008)

CHINA PAYS $11.56 A DAY TO WOMAN WRONGLY JAILED
NORTH KOREA. THREE SENTENCED TO DEATH OVER ILLEGAL FILMS
POPE: RADICALS, BELATED INTERVENTION BY RATZINGER ON THE DEATH PENALTY AT LA SAPIENZA
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO. HANGINGS MAY RESUME
SAUDI ARABIA BEHEADS A RESIDENT CONVICTED OF KILLING HIS MOTHER
IRAN. FOUR AHWAZI ACTIVISTS EXECUTED
SAUDI ARABIA BEHEADS MAN FOR MURDER
JAPAN. RECORD NUMBER OF DEATH SENTENCES IN 2007
SOMALIA GOVT EXECUTES CONVICTED SOLDIER
IRAN. KURD HANGED ON A STRETCHER
SIERRA LEONE. COMMISSION RECOMMENDS ABOLITION OF THE DEATH PENALTY
IRAN. 2 EXECUTED IN PUBLIC FOR MURDER
IRAN. THREE EXECUTED FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING
MALAYSIA. BILL COLLECTOR SENTENCED TO DEATH
SUDAN. ERITREANS AND ETHIOPIANS FACE RISK OF EXECUTION IF RETURNED HOME
IRAN. TWO HANGED FOR MURDER
SAUDI ARABIA. CONVICTED MURDERER BEHEADED
EU WELCOMES UZBEKISTAN'S ABOLITION OF DEATH PENALTY
NORTH KOREA.
IRAN EXECUTES MAN FOR DRUG SMUGGLING
CHINA TO EXPAND LETHAL INJECTIONS
IRAN. 13 HANGED FOR MURDER, DRUG TRAFFICKING
UZBEKISTAN ABOLISHES DEATH PENALTY

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