Here is the Governor's press release, issued November 29, 2005:

RICHMOND - Governor Mark R. Warner today issued the following statement

regarding the request for clemency in the case of Robin McKennel Lovitt:

 

“Mr. Lovitt was convicted by a jury in 1999 of robbery and the capital

murder of Clayton Dicks. The death sentence imposed on Mr. Lovitt has

been reviewed and affirmed by several courts, including the Supreme

Court of Virginia, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, and the

United States Supreme Court. In reviewing this clemency request, I

found no fault with the judgment of the jury, or with prosecutors and

defense counsel, and I am acutely aware of the tragic loss experienced

by the Dicks family.

 

“I believe clemency should only be exercised in the most extraordinary

circumstances. Among these are circumstances in which the normal and

honored processes of our judicial system do not provide adequate relief

- circumstances that, in fact, require executive intervention to

reaffirm public confidence in our justice system.

 

“The Commonwealth is legally obligated to maintain physical evidence

until a defendant has exhausted every legal post-trial remedy in the

case. However, evidence in Mr. Lovitt’s trial was destroyed by a court

employee before that process could be completed. I believe the courts

have correctly ruled that the law requiring the maintenance of such

evidence does not provide relief for a defendant in Mr. Lovitt’s

circumstances. However, in this case, the actions of an agent of the

Commonwealth, in a manner contrary to the express direction of the law,

comes at the expense of a defendant facing society’s most severe and

final sanction. The Commonwealth must ensure that every time this

ultimate sanction is carried out, it is done fairly.

“After a thorough review, it is my decision that Robin Lovitt should

spend the rest of his life in prison with no eligibility for parole.”

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