AUSTIN, Texas (CWN)-- A state board in Texas has turned down the request of Karla Faye Tucker for clemency, clearing the way for the execution of the 38-year-old woman in spite of a Vatican plea for clemency.

      Tucker, who has spent 14 years of death row after being convicted of a brutal double murder-- a crime to which she has confessed-- has entered a plea for clemency on the grounds that she has changed her life since converting to Christianity while in prison.

      The Vatican today confirmed that Pope John Paul II has written to Texas Governor George Bush Jr., the son of the former President, in support of Tucker's plea for clemency. Bush has said that he will not make any decision until he learns the results of a separate bid for help from the US Supreme Court. The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, however, has turned down the prisoner's bid for a life sentence rather than execution.

      Tucker is scheduled to die tomorrow. She would be the first woman legally executed in Texas since the Civil War, and the second woman to die by capital punishment since the reinstatement of the death penalty in the United States.

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February 3, 1998 volume 9, no. 24          DAILY CATHOLIC

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