Assoc. Press – Virginia’s death row population down to 8

Posted: Saturday, March 9, 2013 12:00 am

Virginia’s death-row population has dwindled to eight from a peak of 57 in 1995, and it’s not just because of the state’s efficiency in carrying out capital punishment.

A couple of death sentences have been erased recently — one because of the inmate’s mental health issues, another because a star witness changed his story and prosecutors withheld key evidence. Another inmate’s innocence claim based on recanted testimony was revived last year by an appellate court and is in a judge’s hands.

But another reason for the declining population is that fewer death sentences are being handed down.

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