Rick Clay's attorneys plan to petition Friday to halt his execution

Thursday, January 6, 2011 | 5:40 p.m. CST; updated 10:30 p.m. CST, Thursday, January 6, 2011

COLUMBIA — Attorneys for Rick Clay plan on filing a petition Friday to halt the execution set for next week.

The defense originally planned to file the petition Thursday, as previously reported by the Missourian.

Clay was convicted of murder in 1994 and is set to be executed Jan. 12.

Clay's attorneys say his conviction was based on circumstantial evidence because of a lack of physical evidence and eyewitnesses. He faces the death penalty in the murder of Randy Martindale, a car dealer in the Missouri Bootheel. Martindale's wife was also convicted in the killing.

“We won’t be filing the petition with the Missouri Supreme Court until tomorrow (Friday),” said Jennifer Herndon, an attorney for Clay.

At a news conference in Jefferson City on Tuesday, Clay’s family and supporters urged the public to protest his execution.

Herndon said they are still planning to appeal to Gov. Jay Nixon for a grant of clemency, though she said the governor would not make a decision on the appeal until the last moment.

“The final clemency will be filed Monday,” she said. “We are still working on putting all of the information together for the clemency.”

Herndon said she is hoping that the Missouri Supreme Court will hear their plea for Clay.

“The evidence of his innocence and the evidence of the prosecutor’s misconduct are pretty substantial," she said. "We feel that it’s clear that the Missouri Supreme Court doesn’t execute innocent people, so I hope that they will stop the execution.”

Herndon expects the court to rule on the petition Monday.

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