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Sister Begs Governor To Spare Condemned Man's Life

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RALEIGH — The sister of a condemned murderer said Monday she will ask Gov. Mike Easley to lock her brother up forlife and spare him from the execution chamber later this week.

Teresa White Hunt of Charlotte said she tried to get help forher brother, Clifton White, before he killed Kimberly Ewing in1989. Hunt said her brother was abusing cocaine and alcohol, andshe wanted his probation officer to have him arrested.

"I couldn't get anybody to listen to me," Hunt said. " ... Ijust hope it isn't too late."

White, 43, is scheduled to be executed by injection at 2 a.m.Friday in Central Prison. His sister and attorneys, as well asprosecutors, have clemency meetings scheduled Tuesday afternoonwith Easley.

"I don't want him to die, but I don't want him to get out,either," Hunt said.

Prosecutors from the state Attorney General Office andMecklenburg district attorney's offices didn't return phone callsseeking comment.

In a taped message to the governor, White said he should beimprisoned the rest of his life because he regrets every day thekilling of Ewing, 28, of Charlotte, who had given him a place tostay.

"I've got a bad alcohol and drug problem," he said. "I don'tneed to be put on the street. ... Nobody forced me to do thosedrugs and nobody forced me to drink that liquor."

White said life in prison would be substantial punishmentbecause prison "is a very lonely place."

A psychologist said White's personality changed a petty thiefsupporting a drug habit to an aggressive man trying to regaincontrol over his life after he was raped in prison. That rapepreceded the killing.

Besides the clemency proceeding, White's attorney has filedappeals in state and federal courts.

One appeal is a challenge to Easley's authority to conductclemency hearings because he is a former prosecutor and attorneygeneral. The state high court already has ruled that Easley hasauthority to consider clemency.

Attorney Jonathan Broun challenged in the state Supreme Courtthe law under which White was convicted. The old law, sincechanged, required prosecutors to seek death sentences in certaincases.

Broun also is taking to the U.S. Supreme Court an appeal of thestate's standard indictment form that doesn't require a listing ofall particulars of the case.

Broun said White's childhood was important in understanding howhe arrived on death row. His father threatened to commit suicide,was addicted to narcotics and was blacklisted at pharmacies. Once,Broun said, White watched while his grandfather shot his uncle inthe legs to keep White's mother from being beaten.

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