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Court Refuses To Stay Virginian’s Execution

July 6, 1987

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Supreme Court on Monday refused to postpone the scheduled 11 p.m. execution of Virginia death row inmate Richard Lee Whitley, convicted of a 1980 murder.

The justices, by a 6-2 vote, rejected an emergency request aimed at sparing Whitley’s life. The court also turned down a formal appeal filed in his behalf. The order was returned at 7:10 p.m.

Whitley, 41, was convicted of killing 63-year-old Phebe Parsons during a robbery at her Fairfax County home. Police said Whitley choked her and slashed her throat, and then sexually assaulted the corpse.

The Supreme Court twice previously had rejected appeals by Whitley, for whom four previous execution dates had been set.

Appeals during the six years since Whitley’s conviction depicted him as mentally and emotionally disturbed, and the product of a troubled childhood.

Justices William J. Brennan and Thurgood Marshall, who oppose capital punishment, cast the dissenting votes.

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