Clinton rejects plea to halt execution


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton turned down a plea for clemency yesterday and cleared the way for the execution of a 25-year-old convicted murderer.

Steven Douglas Hill, sentenced to death for the 1984 slaying of a state police investigator, was scheduled to be killed by lethal injection last night in the execution chamber at the state prison near Grady. With Mr. Clinton's rejection of clemency, only a last-minute reprieve from the U.S. Supreme Court could spare Hill's life.

The decision by the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee was announced in a one-line statement issued through his office.

"Gov. Clinton denied clemency after reviewing the court files, including the videotaped confession and transcripts of the clemency hearing and discussions with individuals involved in the case," said Mr. Clinton's press secretary, Mike Gauldin.

Mr. Clinton has never commuted a death penalty sentence. Hill would be the fourth man to be put to death during his governorship. He also would be the second to be executed in Arkansas this year.

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