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Prosecutors, Family Ask Easley To Refuse Clemency For Page

Posted February 19, 2004

— George Page was not hallucinating when he shot a Winston-Salem police officer in 1995, prosecutors told Gov. Mike Easley during a clemency hearing Thursday.

Forsyth County Assistant District Attorney Vince Rabil said Page was angry because he had called his girlfriend on the morning of Feb. 27, 1995, and she would not come visit him at his apartment.

Rabil said Page was throwing a "tantrum" when he began firing a gun out of his apartment window and then toward police cars responding to complaints about Page's behavior.

One of the bullets pierced the windshield of a police car, killing Officer Stephen Levi Amos.

Page was sentenced to death the following year. He is scheduled to die by lethal injection Feb. 27 at Central Prison in Raleigh.

Walter Jones, one of his defense attorneys, has argued that

Page suffered from several mental illnesses,

including post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, and manic depression. The stress disorder resulted from Page's yearlong tour of duty in Vietnam, Jones said.

Jones said the jury never heard solid evidence about the stress disorder or Page's mental health during the trial because his original lawyers did not request medical records to support their claim that Page suffered from flashbacks and hallucinations.

Jones added that defense lawyers also were denied an independent mental-health evaluation paid for by the court and that the judge relied on counselors already treating Page who had no expertise in PTSD.

Jones argued that evidence presented at trial showing that Page was suffering from a mental breakdown might have helped him avoid a death sentence.

Medical records received this week by the defense team show documentation of mental illness dating to at least 1978, Jones said.

Rabil countered by describing how Page talked with his girlfriend, a counselor and police while shooting his gun and never mentioned hallucinations or flashbacks to them.

Rabil said Page called 911 when he saw a SWAT team arrive and told police to remove them because he feared what they might do.

"No expert ... can get around those basic facts," Rabil said. "It was a callous thing that he did, and the jury would always hear what he did."

In between meeting with prosecutors and defense attorneys, Easley spent about 10 minutes with Amos' family, including his mother, Ginger, and father, Stephen.

Ginger Amos said they described how her son was raised on a 140-acre farm and loved to hunt deer and work in the tobacco fields. They also told the governor that their youngest son works as a police officer in Thomasville and that they worry about his safety.

"He was sympathetic and apologized for what we were having to go through because we are having to relive this," Ginger Amos said. "We just hope justice is served."

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