Due to the weather, some customers may experience late delivery of The Roanoke Times. We apologize for the delay.
Lawyers for William Morva, who was convicted of killing two in 2006, invoked his right to file a habeas corpus petition in federal court.
The Roanoke Times | File 2008
Accused killer William Morva listens during testimony at his trial in Washington County Circuit Court in Abingdon.
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
A federal judge has stayed the scheduled execution of William Morva, convicted of killing a hospital security guard and a sheriff’s deputy during a crime spree in Montgomery County.
Morva had been scheduled for an Aug. 15 execution.
But in an order entered Monday in U.S. District Court in Roanoke, Judge Michael Urbanski stayed the execution, allowing Morva to continue his appeals of three counts of capital murder.
Morva, 31, of Blacksburg was convicted of the 2006 killings of Montgomery Regional Hospital security guard Derrick McFarland and Cpl. Eric Sutphin of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.
Testimony had shown that Morva was being held on a robbery charge in the county jail when he was taken to the hospital for injuries he said he’d suffered in a fall in his cell.
There, he overcame a sheriff’s deputy who was escorting him, took the deputy’s gun and used it to kill McFarland before fleeing, according to testimony.
The next day, during an intensive manhunt, Morva shot and killed Sutphin as the deputy closed in on his hiding spot along the Huckleberry Trail, a jury found.
Morva was sentenced to death on three counts of capital murder, the third offense being the killing of two people in less than three years.
In April, the Virginia Supreme Court upheld his convictions.
Although an execution date was scheduled in June, Monday’s stay came as no surprise after Morva’s attorneys invoked his right to file a habeas corpus petition in federal court.
Urbanski gave the attorneys until Sept. 19 to file the petition.
After a decision is reached in Roanoke’s federal court, the case could go on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and then to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Weather JournalNew batch of moisture for PM