Kaine Felt Pain As VA Executed His Client in 1987

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Virginia U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s running mate, is a former criminal defense attorney. The Richmond Times-Dispatch in 1987 covered the execution of a Kaine client this way: “When the state sent 2,500 volts through the body of murderer Richard Lee Whitley … a little bit of Timothy Kaine died, too. It’s not that Kaine, Whitley’s lawyer, thought his client was innocent. Whitley had a long criminal history and had confessed to the 1980 murder and sexual assault of an elderly … neighbor. ‘ His crime was a terrible crime. It was a tragedy. I don’t have any doubt about that,’ said Kaine.”

“Just before Whitley died, the young lawyer stepped outside the prison … to face the media, and he hurt. Carrying a Bible, Kaine offered the television cameras a prayer for what he said was a society that would execute a brain-damaged man who had a diminished ability to see that murder is wrong.” The 29-year-old Harvard law graduate said that, “For somebody who has a view like mine” about life, “the pain is a very real thing. … Something personal in me will die, too,” when Whitley dies. “There are a lot of little deaths in that way every day.”

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