RICHMOND – Governor McAuliffe today announced that, following a thorough legal review of the case, he will commute the death sentence of Ivan Teleguz to life imprisonment without parole. Teleguz’s request for a pardon will be denied. Teleguz was convicted in the murder-for-hire of Stephanie Yvonne Sipe in July 2001. He was scheduled to be executed on April 25.
Announcing his decision at the Virginia State Capitol today, Governor McAuliffe delivered the following statement (as prepared):
Good afternoon, and thank you for joining us. I am joined today by my Secretary of Public Safety, Brian Moran, and my Counsel, Carlos Hopkins, both of whom have devoted countles
Troy Bird, 26, is an 11 year resident of the Roanoke Valley. He is a husband of almost 9 years and the father of three daughters. The oldest of three siblings, Bird was homeschooled for all but three months of his elementary and high school years. His parents traveled around the United States as home missionaries, doing evangelistic work and working to promote unity between denominations. Carrying on the philosophy that he was taught by his parents, that “Life is a classroom”, Bird considers education as being very important and has made it a point to continue studying on his own.
Aside from being a graphic designer, author, lyricist, composer and musician, Bird’s varied background includes being an Advanced-Ace-III certified Contract Disaster Housing Inspector (accepting deployments under contract to FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security through PaRR Inspections to disasters in Florida, Alabama, and Louisiana over the last several years); serving as the Associate Pastor of a local inner-city ministry for three years; and serving five weeks each in Brazil (1995) and Papua New Guinea (2008) with New Tribes Missions as a short-term missionary.
A self-described “Average Joe”, Bird has also held “normal” jobs that include reading water meters, delivering Chinese food downtown Roanoke, working as a contractor, and working through the local temp agencies to provide for his family.
While some may consider his varied background and lack of a business or law degree a disadvantage, Bird disagrees. “I can relate to many of the people in District 11. And they can relate to me. I understand the issues that they are facing on a day-to-day basis, because I’ve faced them myself. I know what it’s like to have to rely on food stamps, because, even with my wife and me both working, we couldn’t make ends meet. I’ve faced the humiliation of being evicted and ending up at the Rescue Mission with my wife and children. The fact is that Roanoke is full of the ‘Working Poor’. That group of people who are working, yet can’t make ends meet. Those one and two wage-earner families who are still ending up in foreclosure… who still can’t afford to keep the heat on in the winter. I have a passion to turn that around. I was taught long ago that ‘Facts are subject to change’, and once I am elected I will work tirelessly to make sure that those facts do change.