Virginia's Governor has halted an execution planned for next week. As Mallory Noe-Payne reports, Ivan Teleguz has spent more than a decade in jail for hiring someone to murder his ex-girlfriend.
While Governor Terry McAuliffe still believes Teleguz is guilty, he’s reduced his sentence to life without parole. That’s because jury members were falsely told Teleguz had their names and addresses, and that it was his practice to have people killed.
"That jury should never have been told that Mr. Teleguz was involved in another murder and that he could come after you. It chilled the jury," said McAuliffe during a press conference Thursday. “I cannot see this man put to death. He will spend the rest of his life in a jail cell.”
Teleguz, though, maintains he’s innocent. Lawyer Elizabeth Peiffer says now that they have the time, they can find more evidence and make a stronger case, petitioning again for full clemency down the road.
“We think that this will give him an opportunity and someday he will absolutely prove that he’s completely innocent,” says Peiffer.
This is the first time McAuliffe has commuted a death sentence, and only the 9th commutation in Virginia since the death penalty was allowed to resume in the 1970’s.
Virginia has one of the highest execution rates in the country - second only to Texas.