Missouri governor commutes death sentence to life

Richard Clay had been sentenced to die in a 1994 murder-for-hire plot.

St Louis: The governor of Missouri on Monday commuted to life in prison without parole the death sentence of a man convicted in a 1994 murder-for-hire plot.

Richard Clay had been sentenced to die on Wednesday for murdering Randy Martindale. Prosecutors said Clay killed Martindale at the request of his wife Stacy Martindale, who was having an affair with Charles Sanders, a friend of Clay.

In a statement, Governor Jay Nixon said that he was convinced of Clay`s involvement in the murder, but decided "after significant thought and counsel" to commute Clay`s sentence to life.

"Richard Clay`s involvement in this crime is clear, and he must, and will, serve the remainder of his life behind bars for his role in this heinous act," Nixon said.

An attorney for Clay was not immediately available for comment.

The last execution in Missouri was in May 2009 of Dennis Skillicorn, who killed a good Samaritan who had stopped on the road to help him, according to Scott Holste, a spokesman for Nixon. The previous execution was in 2005, Holste said.

Police never found the murder weapon in the Clay case.

Bureau Report

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