Court Halts Nebraska Execution
Jan. 13, 1999
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) _ The Nebraska Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the execution of a man who stabbed two women to death in a Quaker meeting house. Quaker leaders nationwide had pleaded for the man's life to be spared.
Randolph Reeves, 42, an American Indian adopted by a white Quaker family, was scheduled to die in the electric chair Thursday morning. The court said it issued the stay to hear an appeal filed Monday by Reeves' attorney.
Reeves was sentenced to death in 1981 for stabbing Janet Mesner and Victoria Lamm inside a Quaker meeting house. Reeves, who was drunk and had taken drugs and the night of the murders, has said he does not remember the crimes.
The Quakers are fundamentally opposed to the death penalty, and clergy joined the victims' families Monday to ask the Nebraska Board of Pardons to grant Reeves a last-minute clemency hearing. The board rejected the emotional pleas.
The appeal claims executing Reeves would violate a new equal-protection clause in the state Constitution, approved by voters in November.
Paula Hutchinson, Reeves' attorney, claims in the appeal that Indians and blacks combined make up 4 percent of Nebraska's population but have comprised six of the 20 death row inmates _ 30 percent _ and two of the three inmates executed since Nebraska resumed the death penalty in 1994.