Darold Stenson Scheduled Execution CanceledPosted: Updated:
The scheduled execution at the State Penitentiary in Walla Walla is now canceled.
On Monday morning a group called the Washington Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty went before the state's clemency board. The board postponed the hearing because there were two stays of execution that had not been lifted.
Later Monday, the Washington State Supreme Court decided not to lift one of the stays because of a new witness.
Darold Stenson was convicted of murdering his wife and business partner in 1993 in Sequim but he has always claimed he's innocent.
"There are three key points here that are our understanding at this moment in time," said John Turner, Clemency Board Member.
First the U.S. Supreme Court would have to overturn a stay that's at the federal level.
"Number two the state supreme court would have to overturn the stay that's in place at the state level. Thirdly the state supreme court would have to rule that the execution could proceed on December 3rd," said Turner.
The clemency board did not make a decision at the hearing Monday, rather they will let the courts decide and if both stays are lifted they will hold an emergency hearing.
"Mr. Stenson has already indicated that he objects to this proceeding. He wrote to me personally. He said how dare you do this I am innocent. Why are you asking for clemency."
Clemency means to reduce a sentence for a crime committed. Since Stenson says he is innocent, he did not want his case to go before the clemency board.
"There is DNA that is out there on artifacts that were associated with the murders of Denise Stenson and Frank Hoerner," said Jeff Ellis, President of Washington Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.|
A stay of execution was put in place when a former inmate came forward as a possible witness. The state supreme court decided not to lift that stay Monday and said Clallum County can try again when the case will go to trial in three months.