Win tickets to see the smash hit musical Mamma Mia at the Roanoke Civic Center. Two winners will each receive four tickets!
Morva of Blacksburg was convicted in March 2008 of three counts of capital murder.
The Roanoke Times | File 2008
Accused killer William Morva listens during testimony at his trial in Washington County Circuit Court in Abingdon.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
The state’s highest court has upheld William Morva’s three capital murder convictions.
Morva, 31, of Blacksburg was convicted in March 2008 on three counts of capital murder in the 2006 killings of Montgomery Regional Hospital security guard Derrick McFarland and Cpl. Eric Sutphin of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.
He was convicted on the third count for killing two people in less than three years — a capital offense in Virginia.
On April 12, the Supreme Court of Virginia issued a published order dismissing Morva’s habeas corpus petition challenging his capital murder convictions. The court’s opinion was handed down Thursday.
A jury in 2008 in Washington County Circuit Court, where Morva’s trial was moved because too many people in Montgomery County had ties to the case, recommended the death penalty for each conviction. Circuit Court Judge Ray Grubbs upheld that recommendation.
Morva also was convicted of assaulting a law enforcement officer, escape and two counts of using a firearm in the commission of murder, for which he received a total of 16 years in prison.
In 2006, Morva was being held at the Montgomery County Jail on robbery charges. Morva fatally shot McFarland early in the morning of Aug. 20, 2006, after beating a deputy who had escorted him to the hospital for treatment and taking the deputy’s gun. He shot Sutphin the next day while Sutphin searched for Morva on the Huckleberry Trail.
Police found Morva hiding in a thicket of brush and arrested him later that day.
The Supreme Court of Virginia previously upheld Morva’s death sentences in 2009. The U.S. Supreme Court in October 2010 denied a petition to hear Morva’s appeal.
According to online records, the habeas corpus petition was submitted to the state Supreme Court in December 2010.
Moving forward, Morva could ask the state Supreme Court to reconsider portions of the habeas corpus petition or ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the state court’s opinion, according to legal sources.
Additionally, Morva could request a federal habeas corpus review, meaning a federal district court would decide whether or not Morva had a fair trial. If unsuccessful in federal district court, the case could be brought to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond and, potentially, appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, according to legal sources.
Morva is incarcerated at the Sussex I State Prison in Waverly.
Weather JournalNext system: Possible ice/snow Sat.