||Execution Date Fast Approaching
POSTED: 12:44 p.m. EST February 12, 2002
UPDATED: 12:48 p.m. EST February 12, 2002
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The pending execution of John Byrd Jr. is drawing national human rights' advocates to Ohio.
Activists representing Amnesty International, a human rights organization, tried to confront Gov. Bob Taft Tuesday morning at the Statehouse in Columbus to plea for Byrd's life.
Activist Bianca Jagger said that she wants Taft to commute the death sentence because of the questions concerning Byrd's guilt or innocence.
"The only thing by which he has been convicted and by which he is going to die is based on a jailhouse snitch. Is that enough to execute a man?" Jagger asked.
Byrd has spent half of his life on death row for the stabbing death of Monte Tewksbury in 1983, a Cincinnati man moonlighting as a convenience store clerk to help pay for his daughter's education.
Byrd insists that he cannot remember the events of the night Tewksbury was killed. He said he had spent the day drinking beer and taking drugs, including quaaludes, Percodan and marijuana. He bases his claim of innocence on evidence in the case.
Lawyers for Taft denied Byrd clemency on Sept. 10, but said they'd look into Byrd's claims of innocence.
A man with Byrd during the robbery, John Brewer, claimed in November that he killed Tewksbury.
Prosecutors in the case against Byrd said that Brewer, who also was convicted of Tewksbury's murder and is serving more than 41 years in prison, cannot be tried again and is only trying to spare his friend's life.
State prosecutors said that Byrd's appeals have been heard and denied by countless judges and the execution must go on.
Byrd's execution is scheduled for Feb. 19 at 10 a.m. at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio, NewsChannel 4 reported.