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Gov. McAuliffe Considering Clemency for Death Row Inmate

Posted: Updated:
Ivan Teleguz Ivan Teleguz
Governor Terry McAuliffe Governor Terry McAuliffe
Elizabeth Peiffer Elizabeth Peiffer
RICHMOND, Va. (WVIR) -

Governor Terry McAuliffe will soon announce whether he will grant clemency to a Virginia inmate on death row.

Ivan Teleguz is set to die next week. A jury convicted Teleguz of a murder-for-hire plot to kill his ex-girlfriend, Stephanie Sipe, in Harrisonburg in 2001.

There's been a growing push from Teleguz's lawyers, Christian leaders, and other public officials in the commonwealth to halt the scheduled execution.

McAuliffe is reviewing a clemency petition filed by the inmate’s legal team.

"Clearly issues have come up issues have arisen that I need to look at very closely," said the Democratic governor.

Attorney Elizabeth Peiffer, with the Virginia Capital Representation Resource Center, is fighting to stop the execution.

"No juror could look at the evidence and look at the record as it currently stands and find him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt," she said.

Peiffer points out that two of the three key witnesses in the case have recanted their testimony, admitting that they lied about Teleguz's involvement.

The third witness, Michael Hetrick, was the man who was actually convicted of stabbing Sipe to death.

Peiffer also believes Teleguz received the death penalty because of false information given to jurors during the sentencing phase.

"The jurors based their sentencing decision on a fictitious murder. A witness testified that Mr. Teleguz was involved in another murder in Ephrata, Pennsylvania," said the attorney. "But now we know that this murder is a fiction. It never happened.”

McAuliffe says he's carefully examining all the information in the case.

"Nothing is more tough for a governor than to have to make this life death decision, and I take it very very seriously,” he said.

Lawyers for Teleguz are also working on filing a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The execution is scheduled to take place on April 25.