Local News

Family Split Over Scheduled Execution

Posted November 1, 2005 9:39 a.m. EST

— Lawyers and family members on both sides visited Gov. Mike Easley Tuesday during clemency proceedings for a man convicted of murder in the deaths of his mother and father in Surry County.

Sentenced to death on March 7, 1991, for the 1990 slayings of Wesley and Mildred Adams, Steven McHone's case has split his family.

Wesley Adams Jr. said after visiting Easley that he was at his parents' home the night they were gunned down and he would not feel safe until McHone, 35, was executed.

On the other side, a sister and brother told Easley that they wanted McHone to live because they loved him and had forgiven him. They said he was a vital link to their family history.

"I am truly thankful and blessed to have the time to really reach out and tell (McHone) that I forgive him," said Tina Walker, the victims' daughter. "And I found it very easy and very comforting."

McHone is scheduled for execution by injection on Nov. 11 at Central Prison in Raleigh.

Two other North Carolina men convicted of murder are also scheduled for execution over the next five weeks. Elias Syriani, 67, scheduled for execution Nov. 18, was convicted in June 1991 for the July 1990 death of his wife. Kenneth Boyd, 57, was sentenced to death in July 1994 for the March 1988 deaths of his wife and father-in-law. He is scheduled for execution Dec. 2.

Easley has commuted just two death sentences in his five years in office -- one in October 2001, where he pardoned Robert Bacon because the jury was racially biased. Three months later, Easley spared Charlie Alston's life because of problems with evidence collection.