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Nixon Received ‘Hundreds’ of Pleas To Spare Condemned Inmate

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Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) –  Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has remained largely mum about his motivations for sparing the life of a condemned prisoner, but records obtained by The Associated Press show hundreds of people implored him to do so — including many who cast doubt on whether the man actually was guilty of murder.

In the days before Richard Clay was to receive a lethal injection for the 1994 slaying of Randy Martindale, Nixon’s office
received more than 300 phone calls, 200 petition signatures and 175 e-mails, letters and faxes urging him to stop the scheduled Jan. 12 execution.

Just five people suggested it should go forward.

Nixon granted Clay clemency by changing his sentence to life in prison.

It marked just the third time since Missouri reinstated the death penalty in 1977 that a governor has spared an inmate from the execution chamber.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

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