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Tuesday, 4 February, 2003, 08:16 GMT
Texans unmoved by Briton's fate
Jackie Elliott with his mother Dorothy
Elliott denies rape and murder
A British-born man, who is due to be executed on Tuesday evening, is hoping the Governor of Texas will grant a stay of execution. But BBC News Online finds Texans singularly umoved by his plight.

Time is running out for Jackie Elliott.

The Texas Board of Pardons and Parole will advise Governor Rick Perry on Tuesday whether or not to grant a stay of execution or a complete pardon to Elliott, 43.

The Suffok-born convict is due to be put to death by lethal injection in Texas at midnight GMT (6pm local time) on Tuesday for the rape and murder of 18-year-old Joyce Munguia in 1986.

The governor has the power to accept or reject the board's decision or allow a 30-day stay of execution for any new evidence to be put forward by Elliott's legal team.

But the case has been completely overshadowed by the space shuttle disaster and has failed to register with Texans, many of whom are inured to executions.

There is also little sympathy for Elliott.

Larry Fitzgerald, public information officer at Texas Department of Criminal Justice, told BBC News Online there had been very little publicity about the campaign to save his life.

Belief in guilt

He said: "That's probably because of this guy's past record - the man is guilty.

"Prior to getting convicted on this murder charge he was released on mandatory supervision after a previous murder conviction. Then he kills this woman.

"There's no doubt in people's minds and we're proceeding as if the execution is going ahead at 6pm local time."

Mr Fitzgerald said this would be the sixth execution in Texas so far this year and the death penalty had the support of 80% of the public.

The sad fact is that Texas is so familiar with executions that it has become case-hardened

Hugh Southey, Elliott's solicitor
Joyce Munguia was gang-raped and beaten to death with a motorcycle chain.

Elliott has admitted he was at the scene of the crime, but said he did not rape or kill her.

His legal team met a judge on Monday evening but failed to persuade him to consider fresh evidence.

They wanted DNA tests conducted on samples taken from the crime scene which they say would prove Elliott's innocence.

They also submitted police reports and forensic evidence which they say identify other suspects.

But Judge Campbell refused the application.

Public support

Hugh Southey, one of Elliott's lawyers, said there was very little interest in Elliott's case.

He said: "The sad fact is that Texas is so familiar with executions that it has become case-hardened.

"A proportion of people in the UK are rightly disturbed by executions, particularly in circumstances like this, where there are question marks over guilt. That's the difference really."

Jackie Elliott's mother
Mother Dorothy Elliott believes son is innocent
He added: "There will probably be a demonstration (outside the prison) but it would be small, not thousands of people."

He said Elliott himself was taking heart from the support he was getting.

"I saw him on Friday and he was as upbeat as you can expect in the circumstances.

"He obviously still hopes that all the work that goes in on his behalf and the support from Britain will help."

The son of a US serviceman, Elliott left England when he was six months old.

Texas State authorities have never responded to a foreign plea for clemency.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's David Willis
"This is America's busiest death chamber"
See also:

17 Jan 03 | England
17 Jan 03 | England
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