Governor who heeded Pope dies in air crash
The Missouri governor who listened to the Pope's request and commuted a death sentence in January 1999 has died in a plane crash.
Governor Mel Carnahan died with his son, Roger, and an aide Monday night in their twin-engine Cessna. Authorities were probing the crash, which occurred during rain and fog.
When the Holy Father visited St Louis in 1999 he made a personal plea to Governor Carnahan to spare the life of death-row inmate Darrell Mease.
Carnahan, a Baptist, heeded the request and commuted Mease's sentence to life without parole. It was apparently the first time in US history where a direct papal intervention resulted in the death penalty being commuted.
Carnahan, a Democrat, was running in a tight race for the US Senate against incumbent Republican Senator John Ashcroft.
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