Governor grants 30-day stay to Vietnamese national

Wednesday, December 17th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Gov. Brad Henry has granted a 30-day stay of execution to a Vietnamese national facing a January 6th execution.

Henry granted the stay, saying upcoming holidays did not give him enough time to review Hung Thanh Le's case before his January execution date.

Last week the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board recommended clemency for Le on a request from Le's attorney, who said the man didn't get access to legal help from his embassy after being arrested on an accusation of murder.

He also raised the possibility that Le's original lawyers didn't consider post traumatic stress disorder as a possible defense.

Henry said he plans to personally interview both prosecution and defense attorneys in the case, and review Le's clemency recommendation file forwarded by the board.

``I want this case to go through the same deliberative process as previous clemency recommendations, and the only way to do that is by ordering a temporary stay,'' Henry said.

Le was convicted in 1995 of using a kitchen knife and meat cleaver to kill Hai Hong Nguyen, a man he met while at a refugee camp in Vietnam.

This is the third clemency recommendation submitted to Henry since he took office in January.

During that time, Henry has turned down two clemency recommendations, leading to the executions of Bobby Joe Fields for killing a woman after he was caught stealing a television set and Jackie Lee Willingham for killing a woman who refused to buy perfume from him.