Nation

Conservatives urge Virginia governor to spare inmate’s life

FILE - This undated file photo provided by the Virginia Department of Corrections shows Ivan Teleguz. The Ukrainian-born man is scheduled to be executed on April 25, 2017. Lawyers for Teleguz filed a petition for clemency with Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Friday, April 7. (Virginia Department of Corrections via AP, File)

Virginia Department of Corrections via AP

Undated file photo of Ivan Teleguz

RICHMOND — More than two dozen conservatives are the latest group calling on Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe to spare the life of a death row inmate who claims he’s innocent.

Ivan Teleguz is scheduled to be executed on April 25 unless McAuliffe steps in. The 38-year-old was convicted in 2006 of hiring another man to kill his ex-girlfriend.

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In a letter to the Democratic governor, the conservatives say they believe there is too much doubt to put the Ukrainian-born man to death, noting that two witnesses who implicated Teleguz have since recanted.

‘‘Executing a man who might be innocent would provide no benefit and only leave a terrible stain on Virginia and our justice system,’’ they said.

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The man convicted of fatally stabbing Stephanie Sipe in 2001 has maintained that Teleguz hired him to do the killing.

Among those who signed the letter is Republican former Virginia attorney general Mark Earley, ex-Republican Party of Virginia executive director Shaun Kenney, and Brent Bozell III, president of the conservative media watchdog group Media Research Center. They’re asking McAuliffe to commute Teleguz’s sentence to life in prison.

Two Democratic state lawmakers and a group of religious leaders have also sent letters asking McAuliffe to spare Teleguz’s life.

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McAuliffe’s office has said Teleguz’s clemency petition is under review.

Associated Press

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