MP makes death row clemency plea

TIME is running out for Felixstowe-born John "Jackie" Elliott on death row, but fresh efforts were today being made for a grant of clemency.Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer has stepped in to try to obtain clemency for his former constituent or at the very least a stay of execution while new evidence is examined by forensic scientists.

TIME is running out for Felixstowe-born John "Jackie" Elliott on death row, but fresh efforts were today being made for a grant of clemency.

Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer has stepped in to try to obtain clemency for his former constituent or at the very least a stay of execution while new evidence is examined by forensic scientists.

But the clock is ticking away with building worker Elliott due to be killed by lethal injection in Texas on February 4 after waiting 16 years on death row after being convicted of the rape and murder of teenager Joyce Munguia.

Mr Gummer said he was planning to talk today with the Foreign Secretary Jack Straw as soon as he returns from Indonesia, where he has been gathering support for possible military action in Iraq against Saddam Hussein.

"It is vital that DNA tests are carried out that could clear Mr Elliott of the charges. I am hopeful the Jack Straw will intervene to urge the authorities in the United States to order the tests," said Mr Gummer.

"Even if that fails, I want the execution stopped. Capital punishment is barbaric and it is totally inhumane that Mr Elliott should have waited so long on death row."

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Elliott has always protested his innocence and lawyers are seeking a stay of execution following significant developments over forensic evidence on blood stained items of clothing.

They believe new forensic techniques could clear his name, but say that authorities in America have so far refused appeals for funding for the lab tests.

Elliott claims he was convicted because of evidence from Texan police informers who were covering their own guilt. The 18-year-old victim was raped and then beaten to death with a bicycle chain under an Eastside overpass in East Austin.

Elliott, 42, lived in Gainsborough Road, Felixstowe, with his parents Robert – who was stationed at USAF Bentwaters air base – and Dorothy. His parents have returned to America.

Currently, Elliot is in isolation at the Polunsky Unit at Livingston. He has a 60ft sq single-man cell with a window. The execution will take place at the Walls Unit at Huntsville, in Walker County, 70 miles north of Houston, and 170 miles south of Dallas.

n Did you know the Elliott family when they lived in Felixstowe? Ring our Felixstowe Newsdesk on 01394 284109.

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