Death penalty opponents aim protest rally at Glendening

November 01, 1998|By Daniel Valentine | Daniel Valentine,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

COLLEGE PARK -- About 50 death penalty opponents gathered at a rally at the University of Maryland campus here yesterday to protest Gov. Parris N. Glendening's refusal to meet with condemned killer Tyrone D. Gilliam Jr., who is on death row and is scheduled to be executed the week of Nov. 16.

Jerome H. Nickerson Jr., Gilliam's attorney, said he has offered to delay a formal petition for clemency for his client until after Tuesday's gubernatorial election. He said he was told last night by Glendening's attorney that the governor refused to meet with Gilliam.

"Clemency in this state is a fraud," Nickerson said. "If you're going to kill a man, have the moral courage to look him in the eye and tell him he is going to die."

Andrea Leahy-Fuchek, legal counsel for the governor, said Nickerson had requested that the governor meet with Gilliam "within 24 hours."

She also said Glendening cannot comment on the case until Nickerson has filed a formal petition for clemency.

Gilliam was convicted in June 1989 for the murder of 21-year-old Christine J. Doerfler in 1988. Gilliam shot Doerfler in the back of the head with a sawed-off shotgun after a carjacking that yielded $3.

After 10 years of appeals, Gilliam's death warrant was signed Oct 5. His only hope lies with the governor.

Protesters and members of Gilliam's family who attended the rally, sponsored by the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, later marched to Glendening's home less than two miles away.

"For black-on-black crime, it's years," said Tyrone Gilliam Sr., father of the prisoner. "For black-on-white crime, it's death."

His son is black, and his victim white.

Pub Date: 11/01/98

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