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Feb 17, 2009

Death Penalty Opposition Alert:
ACLU of Virginia Grassroots Lobbyist Alert
February 17, 2009

Help Stop Virginia's 103rd Execution Scheduled for Thursday, February 19
Contact Governor Kaine Immediately!

Edward Nathaniel Bell is scheduled to be executed at 9 p.m. on February 19 for the shooting death of Winchester Police Sgt. Ricky L. Timbrook during a late evening police chase in 1999.

At a time when most of the country is turning away from the death penalty, Virginia has already scheduled its first execution of 2009. Virginia is second only to Texas in the number of executions since the death penalty was reinstated in 1977.

There are numerous causes for concern in Bell's case including questions of innocence, his mental retardation, and ineffective counsel (see below). Please take one or more of the following actions:

ACTION #1: Contact Gov. Tim Kaine Immediately!

Contact Gov. Kaine via email (click here), telephone, and/or fax and ask him to grant clemency by commuting Bell's death sentence to life without the possibility of parole.

Office of the Governor
Patrick Henry Building, 3rd Floor
1111 East Broad Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219

Phone: (804) 786-2211
Fax: (804) 371-6351

ACTION #2: Ask others to join you in taking action by contacting Gov. Kaine.

ACTION #3: Attend a vigil.  Vigils will be held throughout the Commonwealth on the evening of the execution including at Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt, VA. To locate a vigil in your area,
click here.  Please contact Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty if you have questions or need more information ( or 434-960-7779) .

Reasons to Grant Clemency:

Questions of Innocence

Edward Bell's defense team introduced evidence that showed a second individual was in the vicinity of the shooting at the same time and could have easily been the actual shooter.  DNA from the gun came from at least three individuals and could not conclusively link Bell to the gun.  On an infrared helicopter camera, police detected a warm body hiding near the crime scene that definitely was not Bell.

Mental Retardation

Experts have determined that Bell is probably retarded, but no such evidence was heard in court.  The Atkins v. Virginia (2002) ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court declared that execution of the mentally retarded is unconstitutional.

Ineffective Counsel

Edward Bell proved, and a federal court found, that his counsel's failures at sentencing were so extreme that they fell below the constitutional minimum required by the Sixth Amendment-- in effect, Bell's sentencing counsel's performance was so deficient as to be the equivalent of no counsel at all.

Bell's trial was replete with witness recantations, a conflict of interest between the key witness for the prosecution and Bell's own counsel, and the predictably huge favors that were promised to the incarcerated witness for un-sworn testimony against Bell.

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ACLU of Virginia
530 East Main Street, Suite 310
Richmond, VA 23219

Lethal Injection Table
  Please don't execute people without irrefutable proof, and never execute mentally retarded people and children.


America, Home of the Free and the Brave
America, Home of the Free and the Brave.  DEATH TO THE DEATH PENALTY 

Thursday February 19, 2009, 4:40 am
Care2 Members and others,

This PETITION FOR EDWARD BELL is still accepting signatures:  

I signed, and I hope you will join over 4,000 others who are taking a stand for Ed.

Posted at Minority Rights Network, AI, AIMI, Death to the Death Penalty, Mental Health Union, and Town Crier. 

Please call Gov. Kaine and post Ed's need for help at your group and websites.


Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of or its affiliates.


Mary Neal
, 5, 2 children
Atlanta, GA, USA
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