Morva executed for Montgomery Co. murders of hospital guard, sheriff’s deputy

William Morva

Virginia has executed a man who killed a hospital security guard and sheriff’s deputy after escaping from custody in 2006. Thirty-five-year-old William Morva was pronounced dead at 9:15 p.m. Thursday after an injection at the Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt. He had no last words. It was the first execution carried out in Virginia under a new protocol that makes more of the lethal injection procedure secret.

Previously: Governor Terry McAuliffe released the following statement today on the planned execution of William Morva (9pm tonight): “Over the past several weeks, my staff and I have carefully considered the petition for clemency submitted by William Morva, who was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death for the murder of Montgomery County Deputy Sheriff Corporal Eric Sutphin and hospital security guard Derrick McFarland. We have also reviewed extensive communications from family members of the victims, law enforcement officials, community leaders, and concerned observers from all over the world.

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Democratic Party of Virginia names new director

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – The Democratic Party of Virginia has a new executive director a few months out from nationally watched elections. The party announced Thursday that former deputy director Chris Bolling is returning to run the organization. Virginia is one of only two states electing new governors and other state-level offices this year, and the contests are being closely watched as potential referendums on President Donald Trump. Bolling has worked on several Virginia campaigns in the last decade and was recently Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam’s political  director. Northam is the Democratic nominee for governor.

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The Latest: Wounded Rep. Scalise undergoes more surgery

WASHINGTON (AP) – House Majority Whip Steve Scalise has undergone surgery for “the management of infection” and remains in serious condition. That’s the word Thursday from MedStar Washington Hospital Center, where the Louisiana congressman has been since he was grievously wounded last month when a gunman opened fire at a baseball practice. The hospital says Scalise tolerated the surgery well. It had issued a statement late Wednesday saying Scalise had been readmitted to the intensive care unit and had downgraded his condition from fair to serious. Scalise and four other people were injured last month when a gunman opened fire on a Republican baseball practice in nearby Alexandria, Virginia. The 51-year-old congressman was struck in the hip and the bullet tore into blood vessels, bones and internal organs. He has had several surgeries.

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Virginia set to execute man under more secretive protocol

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – When Virginia carries out its next execution, more of the process will be shrouded in secrecy. Virginia is scheduled to execute 35-year-old William Morva on Thursday for the killings of a hospital security guard and a sheriff’s deputy, unless the state governor intervenes. Recent changes to the state’s protocol means that if Morva is executed, he would remain shielded from the view of his attorney and media witnesses until after he has been restrained and IV lines have been inserted. Execution witnesses used to watch inmates walk into the chamber and be restrained. A curtain would then be closed so witnesses couldn’t see the placement of the IV and heart monitors and reopened so the execution could begin. The change has drawn fire from defense attorneys and transparency advocates.

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State police: 2 injured in central Virginia plane crash

DILLWYN, Va. (AP) _ State police say two people have been injured in a plane crash in central Virginia. Spokeswoman Corinne Geller said in a statement that state police were called to the scene Tuesday afternoon in Buckingham County, between Lynchburg and Richmond. Geller says the pilot was flown to a Charlottesville hospital for treatment of life-threatening injuries. A passenger suffered minor injuries. The crash is under investigation, and no further details were immediately released. Geller says the FAA and NTSB have been notified. It’s the second small plane crash in Virginia in as many days. On Monday, a man sustained serious injuries after he crash-landed in a field in Prince Edward County.

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Dominion wins approval for contested substation, power line

Virginia regulators have awarded approval to Dominion Energy for a hotly contested substation and powerline to provide electric service for an Amazon data center in Northern Virginia. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the State Corporation Commission gave the final approval last week. The transmission line will run from Gainesville to Haymarket and many residents along its proposed path have been stridently against it, asking that Dominion’s request be denied or that the line be buried underground. The commission has said it would be too expensive to bury the line.

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Groundbreaking held for American Indian monument

Representatives of several Native American tribes are celebrating a new monument planned near Virginia’s Capitol. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that tribal representatives and others celebrated a groundbreaking Saturday of a new monument entitled “Mantle.” The monument will recognize Native Americans’ legacy in Virginia. The Virginia Indian Commemorative Commission was established in 2009 to install a permanent monument on Capital Square. “Mantle” by artist Alan Michaelson will be in the shape of a nautilus and
include natural landscaping. The Virginia Capitol Foundation said the monument’s
total cost will be $900,000, and so far $400,000 has been raised.

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Employment rate for disabled not improving

A new state report says people with disabilities continue to struggle to find employment, particularly in rural areas. A report released recently by the Virginia Board of People with Disabilities said the employment rate for people with disabilities has not improved noticeably. The employment rates are lower than the Great Recession and only about a third of the state’s disabled population was employed in 2015. The employment rate gap between the disabled and those without disabilities is greater than it was pre-recession. The board had a number of recommendations the state could do to help boost employment for people with disabilities, including a public awareness campaign.

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21 sites added to Virginia Landmarks Register

A city park established for African Americans during the Jim Crow era of racial segregation is one of 21 new additions to the Virginia Landmarks Register. The Virginia Department of Historic Resources says Montgomery Hall Park in Staunton was founded in 1946 as a regional facility for African Americans during the era of segregation. It included a swimming pool and a park that attracted thousands of people from nearby communities. Montgomery Hall Park was integrated in 1969. Other additions to the landmarks register include Lynchburg College’s Hopwood Hall and four rural properties in Halifax County. The department will now send the sites to the National Park Service for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places. USS FORD Navy: USS Ford will officially join the fleet next month

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Attorneys urge McAuliffe to halt William Morva’s execution

William Morva

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Attorneys for a Virginia inmate convicted of killing two people during an escape in 2006 are asking Gov. Terry McAuliffe to spare his life. William Morva’s attorneys said Tuesday that they have filed a clemency petition urging the Democratic governor to stop the man’s execution scheduled for July 6. His attorneys say jurors didn’t know that Morva suffers from a severe mental illness that they say led to his crimes. They’re asking McAuliffe to commute his sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Morva was in jail, awaiting trial, when he overpowered a deputy sheriff during a trip to the hospital. Authorities say he used the deputy’s pistol to fatally shoot an unarmed security guard and killed another deputy during a manhunt the next day.

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