Today DE Governor Jack Markell granted clemency to Robert Gattis. Mr. Gattis suffered horrible abuse as a child and from many different people -- people that he should have been able to trust. This is an historic moment in Delaware's history. The Board of Pardons recommended clemency, the Governor granted it, and Delaware's largest newspaper published an editorial in support of clemency.
That decision is both fair and just. Mr. Gattis will now spend the rest of his life in prison. He will be afforded the opportunity to provide guidance to his sons as he continues to remind them to conduct themselves appropriately and to take responsibility for their actions.
Many faith leaders spoke out in favor of clemency. Gattis' former jailers said that execution was not the appropriate punishment for him. A forensic psychologist said the abuse suffered by Mr. Gattis was among the worst that he had ever seen. Former judges and prosecutors agreed. Delaware citizens spoke out and joined in the requests for clemency. People from other places, some far away, were moved to action when they learned that the state of Delaware planned to execute a man for whom the death penalty was a disproportionate punishment, especially given that neither the judge nor the jury had heard the evidence of his childhood abuse and that the jury had not voted unanimously to sentence him to death.
Governor Markell deserves our thanks and respect for what he described as one of the most difficult decisions he has ever faced in his career. Please join me in sending him messages of gratitude and commending him for making the right decision.
On twitter, he's @GovernorMarkell and I'm sure he would appreciate a show of public support as he is surely going to face criticism for his decision. You can also comment on the story here:
http://delonline.us/y4wwFj He needs to hear from us now.
Take a moment to savor this victory. There will be more to come as long as we keep the pressure on our elected officials.
With gratitude for all of the work that you do for justice,