- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 8, 2002

ANNAPOLIS Wesley Eugene Baker's attorney delivered a clemency appeal yesterday to Gov. Parris N. Glendening, kicking off a final effort to save the life of the man scheduled to die next week for fatally shooting a woman in 1991 as her two small grandchildren watched.
Two petitions were submitted to the governor by Assistant Public Defender Gary Christopher one day after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Baker's appeal.
One asks that the sentence be commuted to life in prison and the other seeks an indefinite postponement of the execution, Mr. Christopher said.
Death-penalty opponents also plan a rally in Annapolis today as part of the campaign to persuade Mr. Glendening to spare Baker's life.
Baker was sentenced to die by injection for the murder of Jane Tyson, who was shot in the parking lot of a Baltimore County shopping center, where she had taken her 4-year-old granddaughter and 6-year-old grandson shopping for tennis shoes.
Co-defendant Gregory Lawrence was sentenced to life in prison for his part in the murder. Baker was charged with pulling the trigger and was sentenced to death.
"There is substantial doubt, we believe, as to whether Mr. Baker was the person who fired the gun," Mr. Christopher said. "We think Mr. Baker is the one deserving of a life sentence."
Baker does not deny being present when Mrs. Tyson was killed, but his attorneys says there is not enough evidence to show he was the killer.
"He clearly understands that he should be punished for what he did," Mr. Christopher said.
If Mr. Glendening does not commute the sentence, he should at least delay the execution date until he receives a study expected in September on whether the death penalty is imposed in a racially discriminatory manner in Maryland, Mr. Christopher said.
Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, who is running for governor, has asked the governor to impose a death-penalty moratorium until the study is completed.
Glendening spokeswoman Michelle Byrnie said the governor had not seen the petitions yesterday and would have no comment.
Since taking office, the governor has allowed two executions to take place, and commuted the death sentence of Eugene Colvin-El two years ago.
Baker's execution is scheduled for some time next week in the Maryland Penitentiary in Baltimore. State law prohibits prison officials from saying in advance when the execution will be carried out.


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