Local News

Gov. Easley, Victim's Family Members Respond As State Denies Hospice Request

Posted April 19, 2002 5:42 a.m. EDT

— Gov. Mike Easley and the victim's family members respond to the news that the state Department of Correction has denied a request that would have allowed a dying convicted killer to live out his life in a hospice.

Easley did not hold a clemency hearing for Edward Lemons before he denied the request. The governor said the case wasn't appropriate for a pardon or commutation.

"I have asked Secretary Beck to allow the dying death row inmate's family as much access as possible to him within the prison context," Easley said.

Officials said Lemons has not heard the news about the state denying his appeal because he was sick.

Attorneys for Lemons had asked that he receive clemency or be released to a hospice in North Carolina or Michigan. Lemons is an HIV-positive hemophiliac who suffers from cirrhosis, Hepatitis C and possibly liver cancer, the petition says.

The hemophilia makes him unable to receive treatment for the other illnesses, according to the first request. He is receiving treatment at the hospital in Central Prison, the Raleigh maximum-security prison that houses death row.

Correction Secretary Theodis Beck had discretionary authority to release Lemons. Beck consulted with the family of Lemons' murder victims, who had opposed the release, before making his decision.

Bobby Stroud was one of two people Lemons murdered near Goldsboro. Hank Stroud, Bobby's brother, said if Lemons was allowed to leave the prison, he may harm someone else.

"We just told him how we felt about what the man did and it's kind of hard to turn a man out when he kills two people, whether he's sick or not," Stroud said. "He was sent there for the death penalty and he might not get that. He may die naturally, but that's what he was sent there for."

Lemons' family and lawyers are allowed bedside visits every two hours.

Lemons, 34, received two death sentences for the 1994 murders of Bobby Gene Stroud, 38, and Margaret Daniels Strickland, 34, both of Goldsboro. He also received an additional 160 years in prison for two counts of first degree kidnapping and two counts of robbery with a firearm.