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Victim's Family Aims to Block Killer's Execution

Kin: Slain lawyer 'didn't support death penalty'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 6, 2010 3:20 AM CDT

(Newser) – A murder victim's loved ones are fighting to spare the life of the man who killed him. Ronnie Lee Gardner is due to die by firing squad in Utah next month for attorney Michael Burdell's murder, but the victim's father, former girlfriend, and close friend will testify on the killer's behalf at his commutation hearing. Gardner is seeking to have his sentence commuted to life without parole, and Burdell's loved ones will tell the hearing that the lawyer wouldn't have wanted Gardner to die.

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"Michael didn't believe in capital punishment. He didn't believe in eye for an eye, a life for a life," Donna Nu, Burdell's girlfriend at the time of his murder, told ABC News. "Michael would have done the same for me had the situation been reversed." Burdell, a pacifist who served in Vietnam but refused to carry a gun, "would not want to be the reason that Ronnie Lee is executed," she said. (Read more Ronnie Lee Gardner stories.)

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