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DP Victory in Maryland - Vernon Evans Wins Stay of Execution!
This is a fantastic victory for the abolitionist movement! Congratulations
to all those who fought to stop this execution from happening and especially
to Vernon and his family....We will keep up the fight. On to abolition!
Court stays execution of Evans
Convicted murderer was scheduled to die this week; May arguments set
By Jennifer McMenamin
February 6, 2006, 12:47 PM EST
Maryland's highest court postponed today the execution of convicted murderer
Vernon Lee Evans Jr., who was scheduled to be put to death this week for the
1983 contract killings of two Pikesville motel employees.
The state Court of Appeals issued several orders this morning granting
defense lawyers' request for a stay in the execution. The court scheduled
arguments in the case for May.
"We continue to think that we have strong claims and meritorious appeals,
and we're very glad that the court is going to give us a chance to show them
that," said A. Stephen Hut Jr., one of the lawyers who has represented Evans
in his appeals.
The attorneys said they were still sorting out the appeals court's orders
this morning, but that a majority of the judges appeared to grant the
lawyers' requests for a stay on each challenge pending before the appeals
The defense team challenged Evans' death sentence on the basis of a
state-funded University of Maryland study that found racial and geographic
disparities in the state's imposition of the death penalty; on claims that
Evans' previous lawyers failed to investigate his abusive childhood and
present evidence of it to the jury that sentenced him; and on the grounds
that Maryland's lethal injection procedure was developed without the public
input that the defense lawyers say is required by state law.
Evans, 56, was sentenced to death in the shootings of Susan Kennedy and her
sister's husband, David Scott Piechowicz, who were gunned down in April 1983
with a MAC-11 machine pistol in the lobby of the Warren House Motor Hotel.
Another death row inmate, drug kingpin Anthony Grandison, also was sentenced
to death in the case, convicted of offering Evans $9,000 to kill two
witnesses scheduled to testify against him.
Evans, who had been moved to a cell closer to the state's death chamber, was
told of the court's decision shortly before noon, the Associated Press
He said, "Praise God," according to Jeffrey O'Toole, one of his attorneys.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
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