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Charlottesville Religious Group Holds Vigil for Man Executed

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The Charlottesville Religious Society of Friends held a vigil for William Morva Thursday The Charlottesville Religious Society of Friends held a vigil for William Morva Thursday
William Morva (Virginia Department of Corrections via AP) William Morva (Virginia Department of Corrections via AP)
Dianne Bearinger, Quaker member Dianne Bearinger, Quaker member
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

A group opposed to the death penalty held a vigil for William Morva Thursday night. The Charlottesville Religious Society of Friends gathered at the Charlottesville Friends Meeting House on Forest Street.

In 2006, Morva killed a hospital security guard and sheriff’s deputy during an escape.

Morva’s attorneys say he suffers from a mental illness that made him believe his life in jail was in danger when he went on the killing spree. They argue jurors weren’t aware of how severe Morva’s mental illness was before they sentenced him to death.

Advocacy groups delivered almost 30,000 petitions to Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe asking him to halt Morva’s execution. McAuliffe denied the clemency petition saying he didn’t find a substantial enough reason to intervene.

The Charlottesville Religious Society of Friends held an hour-long vigil pausing at 9 p.m. to mark the moment Morva was executed.

Charlottesville Quakers say they mourn for the victims and for the person sentenced to die.

“For us, if you take that premise that the light of God lives in every human being, nonviolence is the next logical step from that. So we all try to adhere and live a life that fosters nonviolence and so state sponsored violence is very difficult,” said Dianne Bearinger, Quaker member.

The vigil concluded with a traditional handshake.

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