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Stop Gay Man's Execution
in 'Ashcroft Land' on Feb. 7

Alert Compiled By GayToday

What follows is about one death row inmate, a gay man named Stanley Lingar.

The clock is ticking toward Lingar's execution, scheduled for 12:01 AM on February 7, 2001.

The death penalty is a violation of the International Declaration of Human Rights. In the U.S., state-sanctioned killing is widespread. Thirty-eight states as well as the federal government permit executions. Thousands of people are on death row in America.
Several gay activists are urging Gov. Bob Holden to stop the execution of gay inmate Stanley Lingar

Before going any further, here is what you can do to help stop this execution:

Contact Missouri Governor Bob Holden

Ask Governor Holden to commute Stanley Lingar's death sentence.

Missouri Governor Bob Holden
Fax: (573) 751-1495
Phone: (573) 751-3222
Mail: State Capitol, Box 720, Jefferson City, MO 65101

Letters are most effective--faxing is advised given how soon the execution is scheduled. E-mails help if you don't have time for a regular letter or a phone call.

After Stanley Lingar was convicted in 1986 of killing sixteen-year-old Thomas Allen, the jury had to decide in a separate hearing if Lingar should receive the death penalty.

It was during this penalty phase of the trial that the prosecutor presented irrelevant evidence that Lingar and his male co-defendant had a sexual relationship.

The state did not argue that Lingar's sexual orientation provided the motive for the crime or that it was connected in any way to Allen's murder; it presented the homosexual relationship in and of itself as an "aggravating factor" that justified capital punishment.

As Lingar's current lawyers later put it, " inflame a homophobic jury from a rural area with prejudicial evidence that Lingar was a practicing homosexual; a fact that the prosecution believed the jury would find morally offensive."

Related Stories from the GayToday Archive:

Why Should LGBT Citizens Care About the Death Penalty?

Mentally-Retarded Lesbian Facing Execution Today

Capital Punishment Rejected by Eleven Major Groups

Related Sites:
Clemency Petition and other information on this case

Gov. Holden

GayToday does not endorse related sites.

The state used Lingar's sexual orientation as a reason to sentence him to death.

This trial took place "in the buckle of the Bible Belt… John Ashcroft territory," say activist members of Queer Watch.

Queer Watch touched off a death penalty debate two years ago within the nation's gay community, in connection with Matthew Shepard's murder. A number of community organizations jointly issued a statement opposing capital punishment. Until then, no major gay groups had done so.

Linger's impending execution remains on track even though an appellate court has ruled that the prosecutor had been wrong--during the penalty phase-- to introduce evidence that Linger is gay. It called the prosecution tactic, a "harmless error" and refused to reverse Lingar's death sentence.

Missourians to Abolish the Death Penalty says that if there is no commutation of the sentence it has already organized vigils across Missouri at the time of the execution.

Linger is represented by Kent Gipson and Jeremy Weis of the Public Interest Litigation Clinic in Kansas City, Missouri (web address: at )

Amnesty International's Chicago Regional Office and the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri are also working hard on this case.

Queer Watch notes:

"There is some public awareness of how race and economic class prejudices play a role in determining who gets sentenced to death. Now GLBT people and others are beginning to realize how anti-gay prejudice works in a similar fashion, in judge's chambers and jury rooms. For those who are stigmatized, justice is not so easy to obtain."

Several other factors in Lingar's case support his plea for clemency including ineffective assistance of counsel and a prosecution deal with the co-defendant.

Lingar's trial lawyer, reportedly, had had no previous experience handling first degree murder cases nor those that could result in the death penalty. He presented a defense for Lingar, it was charged, that had been outlawed in Missouri three years prior to the trial.

"The murder of Thomas Allen is reprehensible," admits Queer Watch, " "but we cannot allow ourselves to turn away from injustice. If Lingar's death sentence is commuted, he can still be imprisoned for life with no possibility of parole."

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