AP: Delaware Gov. spares convicted murderer

Pictured: Robert Gattis during a court hearing.

January 17, 2012 10:40:24 AM PST
Delaware Gov. Jack Markell has decided to spare the life of a man who was facing execution this week for the 1990 murder of his girlfriend.

Robert Gattis was scheduled to die by lethal injection Friday for killing Shirley Slay.

But Markell has decided to accept a recommendation from the state Board of Pardons that he commute Gattis' death sentence to life in prison without parole.

Markell says the decision to grant clemency to Gattis is among the most difficult he has made as a public official, and that he realizes it may cause pain to Slay's family.

But the governor also said he gives great weight to the decision by the pardons board, which reviewed Gattis' case thoroughly and voted 4 to 1 for commutation.