Alabama schedules execution despite controversy

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Oct 22 (Reuters) Alabama Gov Bob Riley on Monday rejected calls to postpone this week's execution of convicted serial killer Daniel Lee Siebert despite his terminal cancer and a national controversy over lethal injections.

Siebert's execution, scheduled for Thursday at 6 pm CST will be the first to go forward since the beginning of a ''creeping moratorium'' that has halted executions in several US states while the US Supreme Court decides whether lethal injections cause unacceptable pain.

''I would in essence be commuting his sentence to life in prison and that is not the sentence he was given by a jury. His crimes were monstrous, brutal and ghastly,'' Riley said in a statement dismissing calls to halt the execution because of Siebert's cancer.

The governor added that Alabama had changed its lethal injection procedures to make sure inmates were unconscious when the lethal drugs were injected during executions and that the state would therefore move forward with Siebert's sentence.

Siebert was convicted of the February 19, 1986, murders of two students -- Linda Jarman and Sherri Weathers -- at the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind, plus Weathers' two young sons.

He was also convicted of murdering Linda Odum on March 8, 1986. Siebert claims to have murdered several others in various US states.

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