EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 51/120/92
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
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.
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
- expressing concern that Timothy Bunch was represented at his trial by two
- 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.