Upset that the man convicted of killing their daughter was not executed yesterday, the parents of Sedley Alley’s victim said they are “sickened” that the governor gave him a reprieve, The Tennessean reports. Gov. Phil Bredesen appears more interested in seeking “political cover than in upholding justice and respecting the clear mandates of the court,” Jack and Trudy Collins said. Alley was convicted 19 years ago of the brutal rape and murder of Marine Lance Cpl. Suzanne Collins. “Gov. Bredesen is acutely aware of the emotions the Collins are going through and considered them in rendering his decision,” spokeswoman Lydia Lenker said. Bredesen and his wife, Andrea Conte, herself a victim of a violent crime, have long been advocates of crime victims and their families. The governor said he believes Alley is guilty but “reluctantly” granted the reprieve so defense attorneys could make a last-ditch effort for DNA testing that could exonerate Alley.
This month, the governor’s office received 394 e-mails supporting a stay and 56 calling for Alley’s execution. Jack Collins took a swipe at DNA expert Barry Scheck, co-founder of The Innocence Project, who joined Alley’s defense team to press the DNA case. Scheck was able to persuade the state parole board on Monday to recommend a reprieve to the governor. Said Collins: “He mastered his presentation and seemed to me he intimidated (the parole board). The hired gun scared the local yokels.”