With Democrats soon to be in control of the state legislature, the group Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty is seeking an end to the death penalty in Virginia.
The group announced Monday that 13 Virginians who have lost a family member to homicide are asking the General Assembly to make Virginia the 22nd state to abolish the death penalty.
One of them will be speaking at a news conference in Richmond on Thursday.
Michael Stone, executive director of the group, said Monday, “To be honest, we have been targeting 2020 for years as the time we would kick off an abolition campaign. From our point of view, the election just adds momentum to the possibility of us being the first Southern state to end the death penalty.”
“We’ve been planning for a long, long time to target 2020 for a variety of reasons,” Stone said. “I think we’ve got enough conservative support that we can really have a serious debate, so we’ll see where it goes.”
Earlier this year, a spokeswoman for Gov. Ralph Northam told the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “If the General Assembly passed legislation to replace the death penalty with life without parole, the governor would absolutely sign it.”
She added that although Northam is personally opposed to the death penalty, he has pledged to uphold Virginia’s laws, including the death penalty, as did former Democratic Govs. Mark Warner, Tim Kaine and Terry McAuliffe.
Virginia has executed 113 people since the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the death penalty to resume in 1976, a toll second only to Texas with 568 over the same period. There are now just three inmates on Virginia’s death row.
The VADP’s position is that there are just two Virginia death row inmates because a federal appeals court ruled last year that the death sentence imposed in Fairfax County on Mark Lawlor in a 2008 murder and rape was flawed and his case is in limbo, Stone said.
The VADP said Rachel Sutphin, of Christiansburg, will speak at the news conference in Richmond on Thursday. Her father, Eric E. Sutphin, a corporal with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, was murdered in Blacksburg in 2006.
His killer, William Morva, was executed in 2017, the most recent execution carried out by the state.
Sutphin will speak in favor of replacing Virginia’s death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of parole, the VADP said.
“These citizens have come to understand that, far from bringing ‘closure’ to their grief, the death penalty brings only more trauma to their lives, as well as being an inefficient and ineffective means of justice,” the group said in a news release.
A poll last year by the Pew Research Center found that 54% of Americans favor the death penalty for people convicted of murder, and 39% are opposed. Nevertheless, death sentences and executions have been trending downward for years.
Efforts to end capital punishment in Virginia’s legislature have failed in previous years.
113 people executed in Virginia since 1982
1982 Frank Coppola
Frank Coppola, who was executed August 10, 1982, for the robbing and killing of 45-year-old Muriel Hatchell of Newport News in 1978. Coppola was the first person executed in Virginia after the 1976 U.S. Supreme Court decision that allowed the resumption of the death penalty. Coppola was executed August 10, 1982.
1984 Linwood Briley
Linwood Briley was executed Oct. 12, 1984. Briley and his brothers were linked to about a dozen murders in the Richmond area. Linwood Briley was executed 1984 for the robbery and killing of a country-music disc jockey.
1985 James Briley
James Briley was executed April 18, 1985. Briley and his brothers were linked to about a dozen murders in the Richmond area. James Briley executed for killing a pregnant Richmond woman and her 5-year-old son.
1985 Morris Odell Mason
Morris Odell Mason was executed June 25, 1985. Mason died in the electric chair for the 1978 rape and murder of a 72-year-old Eastern Shore woman. She was beaten with an ax and burned after her home was set on fire.
1990 Richard T. Boggs
Richard T. Boggs was executed July 19, 1990. Boggs was convicted of the Jan. 25, 1984, capital murder and robbery of Treeby Shaw, a widowed neighbor who was stabbed and beaten to death in her Portsmouth home. He confessed that he had gone to her home under the pretext of borrowing a book, drank tea with her for an hour, then hit her repeatedly with a 4-inch piece of steel. Boggs told police she fell to the floor, but was unconscious and still bleeding, so he stabbed her with a butcher knife.
1990 Wilbert Lee Evans
Evans was executed October 17, 1990. Evans, 44, shot an Alexandria deputy sheriff to death in 1981 but was called a hero by some Mecklenburg Correctional Center employees when he protected them in 1984 during the biggest death row escape in U.S. history.
1990 Buddy Earl Justus
Corrections officer Kay Newton hands tray containing Christmas dinner to death row inmate Buddy Earl Justus in 1986. Justus was sentenced to die for the 1978 rape and murder of Ida Mae Moses, a 21-year-old nurse who lived in Montgomery County, west of Roanoke. Moses was nearly nine months pregnant when she was attacked. The child also died. Justus was executed Dec. 13, 1990.
1991 Albert Clozza
Albert J. Clozza, a trailer park maintenance worker who tortured, raped and killed a 13-year-old Virginia Beach girl, died in the electric chair on July 24, 1991.
1991 Derick Lynn Peterson
Derick Lynn Peterson, a 30-year-old from Newport News, shot a Pantry Pride manager to death during a $4,000 robbery in Hampton. He was executed by electric chair on August 22, 1991. At his execution Peterson said "This chair is made out of the same tree that we once were hanged from."
1992 Roger Keith Coleman
Roger Keith Coleman was executed May 20, 1992 for the 1981 rape and murder of his sister-in-law, Wanda Thompson McCoy.
1992 Edward Benton Fitzgerald
Edward Benton Fitzgerald was executed July 23, 1992 for the Chesterfield County murder of Patricia Cubbage. Drugged and drunk Fitzgerald went to Cubbage's home to steal drugs. He raped her, sodomized her and stabbed her at least 184 times with a machete, also carving a tick-tack-toe design on her back.
1992 Willie Jones
Willie Jones was executed Sept. 15, 1992. Jones was convicted of the May 13, 1983, capital murders of Graham and Myra Adkins, the longtime owners of Gayley's Store, located next to their home on state Route 609 in Charles City County.
1993 Charles Stamper
Charles Stamper was executed Jan. 13, 1993. Stamper, who was a cook at a Shoney's in Henrico, was convicted of killing three co-workers with a .22-caliber pistol during a 6 a.m. robbery in 1978.
1993 Syvasky LaFayette Poyner
Syvasky LaFayette Poyner, 27, was executed March 18, 1993 for the capital murders of five Peninsula area women he robbed and then shot to death so they could not identify him.
1993 Joe Lewis Wise
Joe Lewis Wise was executed on Sept. 14, 1993 for the murder of Mecklenburg County man who was wounded with buckshot, shot in the face with a handgun and had his skull cracked with a shotgun butt.
1994 Johnny Watkins
Johnny Watkins was executed March 3, 1994 for the 1983 slayings of two convenience store clerks during separate robberies.
1994 Timothy W. Spencer
Timothy W. Spencer arrived at the Manchester Courthouse in manacles and leg irons in 1988. Spencer was executed April 27, 1994 for the Sept. 19, 1987, rape and murder of Debbie Dudley Davis. It was the first of four murders committed by the serial killer widely known and feared as the "South Side Strangler."
1995 Dana Edmonds
Dana Edmonds was the first condemned man in Virginia history to die by injection. Edmonds executed Jan. 24, 1995 for murdering John Elliott, a 62 year-old Danville grocer, during a robbery in 1983. Elliott's head was smashed with a brick and he was stabbed in the neck.
1995 Willie Turner
Willie Lloyd Turner, was executed May 26, 1995 for the 1978 slaying of a Franklin jewelry store owner.
1995 Dennis Wayne Stockton
Dennis Wayne Stockton was executed Sept. 27, 1995, for a 1978 contract murder. Stockton was convicted of shooting Kenneth Arnder, 18, in the back of the head and cutting his hands off. Arnder was killed in Patrick County and his body was dumped near Mount Airy, N.C.
1995 Mickey Wayne Davidson
Mickey Wayne Davidson was executed October 19, 1995. Davidson pleaded guilty in 1991 to the 1990 capital murders of his wife and two stepdaughters. The three were beaten to death with a crowbar in their Saltville home.
1995 Herman Charles Barnes
Herman Charles Barnes was executed Nov. 13, 1995 for the murder of two people during the attempted robbery of a Hampton market in 1985.
1996 Walter Milton Correll Jr.
Walter Milton Correll Jr was executed Jan. 4, 1996 for the 1985 murder of Charles Bousman Jr. in Franklin County.
1996 Richard Townes, Jr.
Richard Townes Jr. was executed January 23, 1996 for the 1985 robbery and slaying of a Virginia Beach convenience store clerk.
1996 Joseph Savino
Joseph Savino was executed July 17, 1996 for the 1988 slaying of a Bedford man he robbed to purchase drugs.
1996 Ronald B. Bennett
Ronald B. Bennett was executed Nov. 21, 1996 for the 1985 murder of Anne Keller Vaden of Chesterfield County.
1996 Gregory Warren Beaver
Gregory Warren Beaver is escorted by Prince George County, Va. sheriffs during his 1986 trial for the 1985 murder of Virginia State trooper Leo Whitt. Beaver was executed December 4, 1996.
1996 Larry Stout
Larry Stout was executed on Dec. 10, 1996 for the slaying of a Staunton dry cleaner who was stabbed in the neck during a $1,200 robbery.
1996 Lem D. Tuggle Jr.
Lem D. Tuggle Jr. was executed Dec. 12, 1996. He was convicted of capital murder for the 1983 rape and killing of Jessie Geneva Havens, 52, in Smyth County. Havens and Tuggle had met at a dance. She was shot in the chest and thrown down an embankment.
1996 Ronald Hoke
Ronald Hoke was executed Dec. 16, 1996 for a 1985 rape, robbery and murder.
1997 Roy Bruce Smith
Roy Bruce Smith was executed July 17, 1997 for the slaying of a Manassas City police sergeant in 1988.
1997 Joseph Roger O'Dell III
Joseph Roger O'Dell III was executed July 23, 1997 for the February 1985 slaying of Helen Schartner in Virginia Beach.
1997 Carlton Pope
Carlton Pope was executed Aug. 19, 1997 for the 1986 robbery and slaying of a Virginia Beach woman who gave him a ride in Portsmouth.
1997 Mario Murphy
Mario Murphy, executed Sept. 18, 1997 for the murder-for-hire of a Navy cook in Virginia Beach in 1991. Murphy confessed to beating to death James Radcliff with a steel pipe.
1997 Dawud Mu'Min
Dawud Mu'Min was executed in 1997 for fatally stabbing a Prince William County businesswoman 16 times in the neck during a $4 robbery in 1988 after escaping from a prison work detail.
1997 Michael Charles Satcher
Michael Charles Satcher was executed Dec. 9, 1997 for the 1990 rape and murder of a woman along a bike path in Arlington County.
1998 Douglas MacArthur Buchanan Jr.
Douglas MacArthur Buchanan Jr. was executed March 18, 1998 for the 1987 slayings of four of his family members in Amherst County.
1998 Ronald Watkins
Ronald L. Watkins was executed March 25, 1998 for the 1988 robbery and stabbing death of Danville businessman William McCauley.
1998 Angel Francisco Breard
Angel Francisco Breard was executed April 14, 1998. Breard admitted attacking and stabbing his neighbor to death Ruth Dickie, 39, on Feb. 17, 1992 in Arlington. He said he committed the crime under a satanic curse placed on him by his ex-father-in-law.
1998 Dennis Wayne Eaton
Dennis Wayne Eaton was executed June 18, 1998 for the 1989 slaying of Virginia State Trooper Jerry L. Hines during an eight-hour, 140-mile-long killing rampage that left four dead.
1998 Danny Lee King
Danny Lee King was executed for beating, stomping, choking and stabbing real estate agent Carolyn Rogers to death in 1990. King claims his ex-wife did the killing.
1998 Lance Chandler
Lance Chandler was executed August 20, 1998 for killing a clerk while robbing a small store near South Boston in 1993.
1998 Johnile L. DuBois
Johnile L. DuBois was executed August 31, 1998 for murdering a handicapped store clerk in Portsmouth.
1998 Kenneth Manuel Stewart Jr
Convicted killer Kenneth Stewart, left, shows no emotion, unlike his defense attorney, Webster Hogeland, right, as Stewart receives the death sentence for the Mother's Day killing of his wife and son.
1998 Dwayne Allen Wright
Dwayne Allen Wright was executed on Oct. 14, 1998 for the Oct. 13, 1989 attempted rape and murder of Saba Tekle of Annandale, an Ethiopian immigrant and mother of three.
1998 Ronald Lee Fitzgerald
Ronald Lee Fitzgerald was executed October 21, 1998 for murders and rapes committed in Chatham, Va., in 1993.
1998 Kenneth Wilson
Death row inmate Kenneth Wilson was executed Nov. 17, 1998 for the rape and stabbing death of a Newport News woman. Jacqueline Stephens' nude body was found on her bed, stabbed more than 10 times, her throat slashed and her wrists tied to the bedposts.
1998 Kevin Cardwell
Kevin Cardwell, convicted in the 1991 murder of Anthony Brown, was executed Dec. 3, 1998.
1999 Mark Arlo Sheppard
Mark Arlo Sheppard was executed January 20, 1999 for the 1993 killing of a Chesterfield County couple in their home.
1999 Tony Leslie Fry
Tony Leslie Fry was executed February 4, 1999 for the 1994 slaying of Leland A. Jacobs, a car salesman who was shot 11 times in Chesterfield County.
1999 George A. Quesinberry, Jr.
George A. Quesinberry, Jr., was executed for the Sept. 25, 1989, slaying of Thomas L. Haynes, 63, owner of the Tri-City Electric Supply Co.
1999 David L. Fisher
David L. Fisher was executed by lethal injection March 25, 1999 after he paid for the murder of an 18-year-old in order to collect life insurance. Fisher took the name David Lee Fisher in 1974 while in a federal witness protection program. Fisher had 25 prior convictions including larceny, mail theft, forging endorsements of U.S. savings bonds and forgery.
1999 Carl Hamilton Chichester
Carl Hamilton Chichester was convicted of the 1991 murder of Timothy Rigney in Manassas during a robbery of a pizzeria.
1999 Arthur Jenkins
Arthur Jenkins killed two men, one an uncle, with a rifle during an October 1990 robbery that took place in the victims' Warren County home.
1999 Eric Christopher Payne
Eric Christopher Payne was executed April 28, 1999 for beating two Richmond-area women to death with a hammer. During a period of six days in June 1997, Payne struck three women and a child in the head with a 22-ounce framing hammer.
1999 Ronald Dale Yeatts
Ronald Dale Yeatts was executed April 29, 1999 for cutting the throat of a 70-year-old woman in Pittsylvania County.
1999 Thomas Davie Strickler
Thomas Davie Strickler, 33, was executed for the slaying of Leann Whitlock, a James Madison University sophomore. She was abducted from a mall in Harrisonburg and slain in Augusta County with a 69-pound boulder that crushed her head. Strickler was executed July 21 1999.
1999 Marlon Dwayne Williams
Marlon Dwayne Williams executed August 17, 1999 for murder-for-hire.
1999 Everett Lee Mueller
Everett Lee Mueller raped and murdered 10-year-old Charity Powers. He was executed Sept. 16, 1999.
1999 Jason Matthew Joseph
Jason Matthew Joseph, 27, who robbed and then fatally shot a sandwich shop clerk was executed by injection Tuesday, Oct. 19, 1999.
1999 Thomas Lee Royal Jr.
Thomas Lee Royal Jr. pled guilty in the murder of a police officer in 1994. He was executed Nov. 9, 1999.
1999 Andre L. Graham
Andre L. Graham was executed December 9, 1999 for a 1993 Richmond robbery behind the Steak and Ale restaurant on Midlothian Turnpike. A couple in their 20s were both shot in the head. One survived.
2000 Douglas Christopher Thomas
Douglas Christopher Thomas was executed by lethal injection January 10, 2000 for the murder of his girlfriend's parents, Kathy and James Wiseman.
2000 Steve Edward Roach
Steve Edward Roach was executed Jan. 13, 2000, for the 1993 slaying of a widowed, 70-year-old Greene County neighbor he had befriended. He was 17 when he killed Mary Ann Hughes with a shotgun and then stole her purse and car.
2000 Lonnie Weeks
Lonnie Weeks was executed March 16, 2000 for the 1993 murder of a state trooper.
2000 Michael Clagett
Michael Clagett was executed July 6 for killing four people in a Virginia Beach bar in 1994.
2000 Russell William Burket
Russell William Burket, who murdered a Virginia Beach woman and her 5-year-old daughter with a crowbar, was executed August 30, 2000.
2000 Derek Rocco Barnabei
Derek Barnabei was executed Sept. 14, 2000 for the 1993 rape and slaying of Sarah J. Wisnosky, an Old Dominion University freshman who was choked and beaten to death. Her nude, battered body was dumped into a Norfolk river.
2000 Bobby Lee Ramdass
Bobby Lee Ramdass was executed October 10, 2000 for the 1992 robbery and murder of a 7-Eleven clerk in Fairfax County.
2000 Christopher Goins
Christopher C. Goins was executed Dec. 6, 2000 for the 1994 fatal shootings of three children and their parents in a Gilpin Court apartment in Richmond.
2001 Thomas Wayne Akers
Death row inmate Thomas Wayne Akers was executed on March 1, 2001, for beating a man to death with a baseball bat in a Franklin County robbery.
2001 Christopher Beck
Christopher Beck was executed Oct. 18, 2001, for the June 6, 1995, capital murders of Florence Marks, 54, a cousin, who was raped and shot twice in the head; William Miller, 52, shot several times in the head; and David Kaplan, 34, shot seven times in the head and upper chest.
2002 James Earl Patterson
James Earl Patterson was executed March 14, 2002 for raping and murdering a Prince George County woman.
2002 Daniel Lee Zirkle
Daniel Lee Zirkle was executed April 2, 2002, for the capital murders of his daughter, 4-year-old Christina M. Zirkle, in Page County; and her half-sister, Jessica L. Shifflett, 14, in Rockingham County, both on Aug. 2, 1999.
2002 Walter Mickens Jr.
Walter Mickens Jr. was executed June 12, 2002 for sexually assaulting a 17-year-old boy and stabbing him 143 times in Newport News.
2002 Mir Aimal Kasi
Mir Aimal Kasi was executed Nov. 14, 2002, for the 1993 killings of two CIA employees with an AK-47 in their cars outside CIA headquarters in McLean.
2003 Earl Bramblett
Earl Bramblett, 55, listens as he is sentenced to death for capital murder in the deaths of the Hodges family during a hearing Tuesday, Dec. 16,1997, in the Roanoke County Courthouse. Bramblett was convicted of killing Blaine and Teresa Hodges of Vinton and their children, Winter, 11, and Anah, 3, in August 1994. The family was Bramblett's former best friend, his wife and their two daughters. Bramblett was executed April 9, 2003.
2003 Bobby Wayne Swisher
Bobby Wayne Swisher was executed July 22, 2003,
for the rape and murder of a 22-year-old woman in Augusta County.
2004 Brian Lee Cherrix
Brian Lee Cherrix was convicted of capital murder of Tessa Van Hart in Chincoteague in 1994. He was executed March 18, 2004.
2004 Dennis Orbe
Dennis Orbe was convicted of robbing and murdering a York County convenience store clerk in 1998. Orbe was executed March 31, 2004.
2004 Mark Wesley Bailey
Mark Wesley Bailey was executed July 22, 2004, for the Sept. 10, 1998 slaying of his wife, Katherine, whom he shot three times in the head as she slept, and their son, Nathan, whom he shot twice in the head as the boy climbed out of bed.
2004 James B. Hudson
James B. Hudson was convicted of shooting three neighbors to death in a dispute over a driveway. Hudson was executed Aug. 18, 2004.
2004 James Edward Reid
James Edward Reid, a brain-damaged alcoholic, was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death for the Oct. 12, 1996, stabbing death of 87-year-old Annie V. Lester in Montgomery County. Reid was executed Sept. 9, 2004.
2006 Brandon Wayne Hedrick
Brandon Wayne Hedrick was executed July 20, 2006, for the 1997 slaying of 23-year-old Lisa Alexander Crider of Lynchburg. Crider was abducted, raped and then shot to death at short range with a shotgun near the James River in Appomattox County.
2006 Michael Lenz
Michael Lenz was executed July 27, 2006, for killing fellow inmate Brent Parker during a pagan religious ceremony.
2006 John Yancey Schmitt
John Yancey Schmitt was executed Nov. 9, 2006 for the capital murder of a guard during a bank robbery in Chesterfield County. Schmitt shot to death Shelton Earl Dunning during the Feb. 17, 1999, robbery of a NationsBank branch in Bon Air.
2008 Kevin Green
Kevin Green was executed May 27, 2008 for killing the owner of a store during a robbery in rural Brunswick County.
2008 Kent Jermaine Jackson
Kent Jermaine Jackson was executed July 10, 2008 for the brutal slaying of an elderly Newport News neighbor. Beulah Mae Kaiser, 79, had her walking cane shoved down her throat, a jugular vein cut, and her skull fractured. She had been kicked, suffered several other stab wounds, and had been sexually assaulted.
2008 Christopher Scott Emmett
Christopher Scott Emmett was executed July 24, 2008 for beating a co-worker to death with a brass lamp and stealing his money to buy crack cocaine. The killing happened in Danville in 2001.
2009 Edward Nathaniel Bell
Edward Nathaniel Bell was executed Feb. 19, 2009 for the Oct. 29, 1999, slaying of Winchester police Sgt. Ricky L. Timbrook.
2009 John Allen Muhammad
John Allen Muhammad executed Nov. 10, 2009. Muhammad, 48, the leader of a two-man shooting team that kept the region in fear through much of October 2002, was sentenced to die for the slaying of Dean Harold Meyers, 53, a civil engineer shot in the head at a Prince William County gas station where he had stopped on his way home from work.
2009 Larry Bill Elliott
Larry Bill Elliott, a former Army intelligence officer from Hanover, Md., was executed Nov. 17, 2009 for the murder of Dana Thrall of Prince William County. Thrall, 25, was pistol-whipped and shot three times in the head in her Dale City town house. Robert Finch, 30, who lived with Thrall, was shot in the head, chest and back.
2010 Paul Warner Powell
Paul Warner Powell was executed March 18, 2010 for the 1999 slaying of a 16-year-old girl in her Manassas-area home.
2010 Darick Demorris Walker
Darick Demorris Walker was executed May 20, 2010 for the separate killings of two Richmond men.
2010 Teresa Lewis
Teresa Lewis was executed Sept. 23, 2010 for the murders of her husband and stepson in Pittsylvania County. It was the first execution of a woman in Virginia since 1912.
2011 Jerry Terrell Jackson
Jerry Terrell Jackson was executed August 18, 2011 for the 2001 rape and murder of an 88-year-old Williamsburg woman smothered with a pillow.
2011 Robert Charles Gleason Jr.
Robert Charles Gleason Jr. was executed on Sept. 6, 2011. While serving a life sentence for murder, he killed two fellow inmates.
2015 Alfredo R. Prieto
Alfredo R. Prieto was executed Oct. 2, 2015 for the 1988 rape and murder of Rachael A. Raver and the murder of her boyfriend, Warren Fulton III, in Fairfax County.
2017 Ricky Javon Gray
Ricky Javon Gray executed January 18, 2017 for the Richmond slayings of Ruby Harvey, 4, and Stella Harvey, 9, on New Year's Day 2006.
2017 William Morva
William Morva was executed on July 6, 2017 for the capital murders of an unarmed security guard and a deputy sheriff during an escape in Montgomery County in 2006.