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EXTRA 99/92 - USA (Virginia): death penalty: Timothy Bunch

, Index number: AMR 51/120/1992

Timothy Bunch, white, is scheduled to be executed in Virginia on 10 December 1992. He was sentenced to death in November 1982 for the murder of a woman Su Cha Thomas. At his trial he had reportedly poor legal representation: the court-appointed lawyers were inexperienced and failed to present mitigating evidence which included information about Timothy Bunch's disturbed family background and his lack of any criminal record or history of violence. Only one defence witness, his mother, was called to testify, despite the apparent availability of many other witnesses.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 51/120/92
Distr: UA/SC
EXTRA 99/92 Death Penalty 17 November 1992
USA (Virginia): Timothy BUNCH
Timothy Bunch is scheduled to be executed in Virginia, USA, on 10 December
1992.
Timothy Bunch, white, was sentenced to death in November 1982 for the murder
of Su Cha Thomas, female, in January 1982. Timothy Bunch received poor legal
representation at his trial: the two court-appointed lawyers assigned to his
case had never handled a capital case before. As a result of their lack of
experience, they failed to present mitigating evidence about Timothy Bunch's
background to the jury which sentenced him to death. This included information
relating to his disturbed family background and his lack of any prior criminal
record, or history of violence. The only person called to testify on his behalf
at the sentencing phase of his trial was his mother, although, according to
reports, there were many witnesses available to do so.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
As of August 1992 there were 47 prisoners under sentence of death in Virginia.
Sixteen prisoners have been executed in the state since 1982, the most recent
being Willie Leroy Jones, black, on 15 September 1992. The method of execution
is electrocution. Governor Wilder has designated 7 to 11 December to be Human
Rights Week in Virginia. 10 December is International Human Rights Day.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/telephone calls/express and
airmail letters in English if possible:
- urging Governor Wilder to grant clemency to Timothy Bunch by commuting his
death sentence;
- expressing concern that Timothy Bunch was represented at his trial by two
inexperienced attorneys;
- noting that the execution of Timothy Bunch is scheduled to take place in
Virginia on International Human Rights Day;
- expressing Amnesty International's opposition to the death penalty in all
cases as a violation of the right to life and the right not to be subjected
to cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment, as proclaimed in the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights.
APPEALS TO
The Honorable L Douglas Wilder
Governor of Virginia
State Capitol
Richmond, VA 23219, USA
Telegrams: Governor Wilder, Richmond, VA 23219, USA
Telephone: +1 804 786 2211
Faxes: +1 804 786 3985
Salutation: Dear Governor
Page 2 of EXTRA 99/92
COPIES TO:
The following newspapers:
The Letters Editor
The Richmond Times-Dispatch
333 East Grace Street
Richmond, VA 23219, USA
Faxes: + 1 804 775 8019
The Letters Editor
Richmond New Leader
333 East Grace Street
Richmond, VA 23219, USA
Faxes: + 1 804 775 8019
and to diplomatic representatives of the USA accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY, TO ARRIVE BY 10 DECEMBER 1992.

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