Thursday, February 19, 2009

Statement of Governor Kaine on the scheduled execution of Edward Nathaniel Bell


Office of the Governor Timothy M. Kaine


February 19, 2009

Contact: Gordon Hickey Phone: (804) 225-4260 Cell Phone: (804) 291-8977

~ On the scheduled execution of Edward Nathaniel Bell ~

RICHMOND – Governor Timothy M. Kaine issued the following statement today on the scheduled execution of Edward Nathaniel Bell by the Commonwealth of Virginia:

“Edward Nathaniel Bell was tried by a jury in the Circuit Court of Winchester, Virginia and found guilty on January 25, 2001, of the capital murder of Winchester City Police Officer Richard Timbrook. The jury also found Bell guilty of the use of a firearm in the commission of murder, possession of a firearm while in possession of cocaine, and possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute. In two separate sentencing hearings culminating on January 26, 2001, the jury sentenced Bell to death for capital murder and to prison sentences for his non-capital offenses.

“After denials of direct relief and Bell’s habeas petition from the Virginia Supreme Court, the United States District Court and the Fourth Circuit, Bell filed a petition for a writ of certiorari and an application for a stay of execution in the United States Supreme Court. On April 1, 2008, I reprieved Bell’s execution to June 24, 2008, because the U.S. Supreme Court was then considering the constitutionality of using lethal injection as a method of execution.

“The U.S. Supreme Court then granted Bell’s stay of execution and his petition for a writ of certiorari to review one claim regarding the standard of review utilized by the Fourth Circuit. On November 12, 2008, the case was argued before the Court. On November 17, 2008, the Court dismissed the writ of certiorari as improvidently granted, and on December 19, 2008, entered its final judgment dismissing the case.

“Bell’s trial, verdict, and sentence have been reviewed by state and federal courts, including the Supreme Court of Virginia, United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court. Having carefully reviewed the petition for clemency and judicial opinions regarding this case, I find no compelling reason to set aside the sentence that was recommended by the jury, and then imposed and affirmed by the courts.

“Accordingly, I decline to intervene.”

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