Update, Thursday Jan. 13th 2:30 p.m.
Governor Nixon still believes the death penalty is appropriate in certain cases despite lingering questions about why he commuted a death sentence for a 45-year-old inmate.
Nixon on Thursday continued to maintain there were many facets to his decision to spare Richard Clay from his scheduled execution Wednesday. But Nixon declined to elaborate during a question-and-answer session after his visit to an auto technology program at St. Louis Community College.
Clay had been scheduled to die by chemical injection for a 1994 killing. Nixon commuted the sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Clay was convicted of killing Randy Martindale of New Madrid but has maintained his innocence.
Update, Thursday Jan. 13th 9:30 a.m.
Three days after sparing a Missouri death-row inmate's life, Gov. Jay Nixon appears ready to explain why he did it.
During a visit Thursday to St. Louis, the governor is expected to discuss his reasons for commuting 45-year-old Richard Clay's death sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Nixon made the move Monday, a little more than a day before Clay was to be executed in the 1994 southeastern Missouri killing of Randy Martindale.
Clay has professed his innocence. In commuting his sentence, Nixon said in a statement he was convinced of Clay's involvement in the killing and found the evidence supported the jury's verdict of first-degree murder.
Clay's attorney has said she will continue pushing for a new trial for Clay.
Update, Monday Jan. 10th 4:30 p.m.: Attorney General Chris Koster today issued the following statement on the Governor TMs decision to commute the sentence of Richard Clay to life in prison without parole:These are difficult decisions constitutionally vested with the Governor of our state. I am confident that Governor Nixon gave this case careful consideration and I respect his decision.
Update, Monday Jan. 10th 3:30 p.m.: Gov. Jay Nixon has commuted the sentence for a man scheduled to die by injection Wednesday to life in prison without parole.The governor's office made the announcement Monday afternoon in the case of Richard Clay. Clay was convicted in the 1994 killing of a southeast Missouri man, but has maintained he was innocent.In a brief statement, Nixon says he is convinced Clay is guilty of the killing of Randy Martindale of New Madrid. The governor's statement does not say why he commuted the sentence.The execution would have been the first in Missouri since 2009 and just the second since 2005 as the courts have considered whether Missouri's three-drug execution method could potentially cause cruel and unusual punishment for the inmate. Original Story: Death penalty opponents and the attorney for a man convicted of a 1994 murder-for-hire plot are appealing to Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to stop what would be the first execution in the state in nearly two years.
Richard Clay is scheduled to die on Jan. 12. He was convicted of murder in the New Madrid shooting death of Randy Martindale.
A judge threw out Clay's 1995 conviction six years later and ordered a new trial, but an appeals court reinstated the conviction and death sentence in 2004.
Clay's case was one of seven in which appellate judges raised questions about the courtroom conduct of former statewide prosecutor Kenny Hulshof, who later served six terms in Congress.