MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Va. – Two United Nations human rights experts have issued an urgent appeal for governor of Virginia to halt the planned execution of William Morva, a man with psychosocial disability.
Morva, 35, a Hungarian national, was sentenced to death in 2008 in Virginia for the murder of a hospital security guard and a sheriff’s deputy.
During his trial, the jury was not told about his psychosocial condition and he did not receive reasonable accommodation to adjust the process to his individual needs.
Morva is scheduled to be executed in Virginia by lethal injection on July 6.
A court-appointed psychiatrist diagnosed Morva with delusional disorder in 2014, and noted that his crimes may have been committed as a result of the delusions he was experiencing.
“We are deeply concerned about information we have received indicating that Mr. Morva’s original trial did not meet fair trial safeguards, which include reasonable accommodation in all stages of the process, and may therefore have breached international standards,” recalled the UN Special Rapporteurs on summary executions, Agnes Callamard, and on right to health, Dainius Pūras.
Morva’s condition is such that he has ceased all communication with his legal team, gravely hampering their ability to defend him as his execution approaches.
“We are concerned at Mr. Morva’s deteriorating psychosocial condition. The denial of reasonable accommodation in detention can be considered a form of discrimination against him because of his mental health condition,” stressed the experts.
“We urge the authorities to annul the death sentence against Mr. Morva and to re-try him in compliance with international standards related to due process and fair trial,” they stressed.
Rachel Sutphin, the daughter of Montgomery County Sheriff's Deputy, Corporal Eric Sutphin, one of the men killed by Morva, sent this statement to WSLS 10:
"I am against the death penalty for religious and moral reasons. I have fought and will continue to fight for clemency for all death row inmates until Virginia declares the death penalty unconstitutional. I have sent my own letter to the Governor showing my support for clemency."