Church of slain priest lobbying against death penalty for priest's killer

Killer: 'Priest would have forgiven me, state should as well'


ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – A Catholic priest found fatally shot in the Georgia woods asked prosecutors in a letter before his death not to seek capital punishment should his killer be convicted.

Church officials are citing a legal "Declaration of Life" document that the Rev. Rene Robert signed before his slaying as they lobby against capital punishment for Steven Murray, a repeat offender the priest had befriended.

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Prosecutors have decided to seek the death penalty as they prepare to try Murray for the slaying of the priest who picked him up for a ride in Jacksonville, Florida.

Murray said the priest would have forgiven him, so the state should as well.