Missouri governor admits “personal qualms” over Lingar execution

BY Advocate.com Editors

February 10 2001 12:00 AM ET

Missouri governor Bob Holden said Thursday that he had “personal qualms” about presiding over the execution of Stanley Lingar, a gay man, on Wednesday. “We can talk about these budget issues, we can talk about all the other issues out there, but that decision, when I make it, I end somebody’s life,” Holden told the press at the Associated Press/Missouri Press Association Day in Jefferson City. “And that’s a decision you can’t retract.’’ Lingar was executed for the 1985 murder of 16-year-old Thomas Allen. Lingar and his lover, David Smith, picked up Allen after his car ran out of gas and ordered him to strip and masturbate. When Allen refused, Lingar shot him, beat him with a tire iron, and ran over him with a car before throwing his body in a river. Opponents of the death penalty claimed that Lingar’s homosexuality was raised during the penalty phase of his trial in order to inflame a rural jury, a charge prosecutors deny. Lingar had appealed to Holden for clemency, but Holden said he saw no evidence to merit the request. “I will not be bashful about making decisions either way about the merits on the case,’’ he said. Asked if he lost any sleep over the decision, Holden paused, then replied, “No, because I made the right decision.’’

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