Conservatives Call on Gov. McAuliffe to Commute Death Sentence

Dear Governor McAuliffe,

The Commonwealth is planning to execute a man who may have been wrongly convicted – Ivan Teleguz. Unless you intervene, he will be executed on April 25. As conservatives and libertarians who have been involved in Virginia and national politics, we ask that you halt Teleguz’s execution. Executing a man who might be innocent would provide no benefit and only leave a terrible stain on Virginia and our justice system.

Teleguz was convicted of hiring Michael Hetrick to murder his ex-girlfriend Stephanie Sipe, but there are real doubts about Teleguz’s guilt. The case against him relied almost entirely on dubious testimony from three men. One was the confessed killer Hetrick, who had incentive to lie, since he received a deal sparing him from the death penalty in exchange for his testimony against Teleguz, and he was even given most of the details of the prosecution’s story before he implicated Teleguz. The other two witnesses later admitted that they lied in court and swore under oath that Teleguz was not involved in Sipe’s murder. They confessed to giving false testimony at trial because of threats from the prosecutor and promises she made to lessen the severity of their sentences.

At trial, the prosecutor argued that Teleguz should be sentenced to death, in part, because he was dangerous and involved in another murder in Ephrata, Pennsylvania. Yet, it was later revealed that the testimony about this supposed murder was completely fabricated – the murder in Ephrata never even happened. Nevertheless, it was used against Teleguz in court. Since arriving on death row, Teleguz has been a model prisoner who works hard at his cleaning job and regularly participates in Bible studies through the mail, which demonstrates how he is not a danger to those around him, as portrayed by the prosecutor.

The Commonwealth’s case against Teleguz is weak. There is far too much doubt and simply not enough evidence to execute him. No American, conservative or otherwise, can stand for a possible wrongful execution. While we have many political disagreements, surely you can agree that if you decide that executions must proceed, then they ought not be carried out in cases riddled with doubts. Therefore, we call upon you to halt Teleguz’s execution and commute his sentence to life without parole in order to ensure that a possible wrongful execution doesn’t happen on your watch and to allow Teleguz more time to potentially prove his innocence.

 

Name and Title (for identification purposes only)

  • Richard Viguerie

Manassas, Virginia

Chairman, Conservative HQ

  • Brent Bozell III

Reston, Virginia

Founder and President, Media Research Center

  • Mark Earley

Leesburg, Virginia

Former Virginia Attorney General

  • Shaun Kenney

Kents Store, Virginia

Former Executive Director, Republican Party of Virginia

  • Christian Josi

Richmond, Virginia

Former Executive Director, American Conservative Union

  • Cliff Maloney Jr.

Arlington, Virginia

President, Young Americans for Liberty

  • Caleb Taylor

Abingdon, Virginia

Director of Policy and Operations, Virginia Institute for Public Policy

  • Christian N. Braunlich

Alexandria, Virginia

Vice President, Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy

  • Matthew Hurtt

Arlington, Virginia

Former Chairman, Arlington-Falls Church Young Republicans

  • Nicholas Cote

Alexandria, Virginia

Former Board Member, Republican Liberty Caucus of Virginia and current President, Right Way Forward Virginia

  • Christian Robey

Reston, Virginia

Political Director, Media Research Center

  • Mark Fitzgibbons

Manassas, Virginia

President of Corporate Affairs, American Target Advertising

  • Dan Joseph

Sterling, Virginia

Political Commentator

  • Norm Singleton

Alexandria, Virginia

Former Legislative Director, Congressman Dr. Ron Paul

  • Caren Harp

Lynchburg, Virginia

Associate Professor of Law, Liberty University School of Law

  • Rina Shah

Reston, Virginia

Republican Strategist and Consultant

  • Michael Ostrolenk

Alexandria, Virginia

National Director, Liberty Coalition

  • Jonathan Bydlak

Alexandria, Virginia

Former Fundraising Director, Dr. Ron Paul for U.S. President (2008)

  • John Kramer

Arlington, Virginia

Public Interest Advocate

  • Jim Innocenzi

Alexandria, Virginia

Founding Partner, Sandler-Innocenzi (Republican political advertising firm)

  • Ryan Horn

Alexandria, Virginia

GOP Media Strategist, Sandler-Innocenzi (Republican political advertising firm)

  • Grace Charlton

Charlottesville, Virginia

Former Chairwoman, University of Virginia chapter of Young Americans for Liberty

  • Titus Folks

Chesapeake, Virginia

Former Campaign Manager, Bill Haley for Delegate, Hampton Roads Director, Denver Riggleman for Governor, and State Director, Students for Rand

  • K. Marcus

Charlottesville, Virginia

Former Editor of the Freeman Magazine, Foundation for Economic Education (FEE)

  • Skip Estes

Williamsburg, Virginia

Chairman, College Libertarians of William and Mary