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Death Plea

February 05, 2001
By: Maria del Mar Grandio
State Capital Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - "The future of Stanley Dewaine Lingar is in Governor Bob Holden's hands."

With those words, Rita Lindhardt, from the Missouri Catholic Conference, concluded a sparsely attended news conference in the statehouse rotunda Monday called in an effort to save the life of the convicted killer who is scheduled to die later this week.

After the news conference, Lindhardt along the deputy executive director of the US office of Amnesty International hand-delivered a letter to Gov. Bob Holden's office seeking clemency for Lingar who is scheduled to be executed at 12:01 am Wednesday.

It would be the first execution since Holden took office in early January.

However, Holden, who was out of town, did not immediately read the letter.

"The letter was sent to governor's legal team," said the governor's spokesman, Jerry Nachtigal. "They will review this letter as well as the completed case records."

"Typically, the governor prefers to wait until all the courts have decided before he decides whether or not continue the execution," Nachtigal said. "I would guess it would be some time Tuesday evening."

Lingar was sentenced to death for the murder of Thomas Scott Allen after a three-day trial in 1986. Among the evidence against him was the testimony of his co-defendant, David Smith, the only other person present at the crime.

Both Smith and Lingar initially were charged with first-degree murder, but in exchange for his testimony against Lingar, the agreed not to seek the death penalty against Smith.

"Time and time again in crimes involving two defendants, one is offered a plea bargain in return for testimony against the other," said Amnesty International's letter for clemency. "We are very concerned about the reliability of the outcomes of such cases."

The group also charged the prosecution inflamed the jury with evidence regarding Lingar's sexual orientation.

"It appears as though the prosecutor's sole intention in introducing information was to stir up homophobia among the jurors, who were drawn from a conservative and rural area of southeastern Missouri," the letter reads.

The letter urged Gov. Holden "to pay heed to the growing number of relatives of murder victims who actively oppose the death penalty, arguing that executions represent an appalling memorial to their loved ones, create more victims and nurture a culture of violence."