Please help us prevent the imminent execution of Mr. Christopher Sepulvado.
We request your assistance on behalf of Christopher Calvin Sepulvado who is scheduled to be executed on February 13, 2013. Mr. Sepulvado’s legal team filed a clemency petition with the Louisiana Board of Pardons, who denied the request without holding a hearing. We ask you to contact Governor Bobby Jindal and request that he give meaningful consideration to the issues laid out in Chris’s clemency petition, and commute his sentence from death to life without the possibility of parole.
The Honorable Piyush “Bobby” Jindal Governor of the State of Louisiana address: State Capitol, Baton Rouge, LA 70804 telephone: (225) 342-7015 fax: (225) 342-7099 e: Gov. Jindal can be emailed at his website: www.gov.la.gov/index.cfm?md=form&tmp=email_governor
Mr. Sepulvado was sentenced to death for the 1992 murder of his six-year-old stepson, Wesley Allen Mercer. His execution would mark the first involuntary execution in Louisiana since 2002. At the age of 69, Mr. Sepulvado would be the oldest inmate ever to be put to death by the State of Louisiana.
February 13 is Ash Wednesday, a day in the Catholic tradition when people are called to repentance. Mr. Sepulvado has honored that call in his own life: he consistently expresses remorse for his crime and has worked to turn his life around since he became incarcerated. He has been a model prisoner during his time at Angola, ministering to and tutoring other inmates. Mr. Sepulvado was chosen by the prison itself to spiritually guide fellow inmates. He wishes to have his death sentence commuted to life without opportunity of parole so that he might attend the Louisiana Theological Center at Angola.
In your communications with Governor Jindal, we ask generally that you politely express your opposition to Chris’s execution and specifically request a “commutation of sentence from death to life without parole.” You might also address the five issues described below, which were the basis of Chris’s clemency petition:
- Chris’s age and poor health: Chris is currently 69 years of age and in very poor health. Less than 0.5% of the 14,842 persons executed in the USA since 1776 have been Chris’s age or older. Since 1722, Louisiana has never executed a single person over the age of 62. Only one-half of one percent of the 14,842 persons executed in the United States since 1776 have been Chris’s age or older.
- Chris is brain damaged and has a history of mental illness, including episodes of psychosis, depression and paranoia. Chris has been diagnosed with moderate brain damage, indicating that he functions at a level below 98% of the population. His brain damage is substantial enough to affect his ability to control his behavior and emotions, his decision-making, planning and problem solving. Chris has had numerous head injuries, the first when he was only an infant.
- Chris is changed man. During 20 years of imprisonment, Chris has been a model prisoner. He has ministered and tutored other inmates and was chosen by the prison itself to spiritually guide fellow inmates. Chris has a deep faith in God and has consistently expressed remorse for his crime. He wishes to have his death sentence commuted to life without opportunity of parole so that he might attend the Louisiana Theological Center at Angola.
- Chris’s punishment is grossly unjust compared to that of his co-defendant. Chris was sentenced to death for the 1992 murder of his six-year-old stepson, Wesley Allen Mercer. For her role in her son’s murder, Wesley’s biological mother, Yvonne Mercer Sepulvado, was convicted of manslaughter and served only six years in prison. She has been free for 12 years.
- Federal courts agree that Chris’s conviction and death sentence are tainted by constitutional error. Chris was indicted by a grand jury system contaminated by a longstanding pattern of racial discrimination. Chris was unable to obtain relief in the court system because his trial lawyer failed to the pre-trial paperwork necessary to challenge the results of such discriminatory practices. In fact, Chris’s lawyer chose not to file the required legal documents because doing so would have exposed the fact that he himself had similarly discriminated against other unlucky defendants during his time as a state court judge years earlier.
If you do communicate with Governor Jindal, please let us know. Thank you for your help.