HARRISBURG -- The state Board of Pardons unanimously voted against recommending clemency for a death-row inmate scheduled to die tomorrow for murdering a 16-year-old girl after kidnapping her in York County.
Hubert Michael, 56, is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection tomorrow evening in Centre County. Michael pleaded guilty in October 1994 to kidnapping and first-degree murder in the death of Trista Eng. He had offered her a ride to work but instead drove her to state game lands where he shot her three times with a handgun and then hid her body in the woods, according to the governor's office. He later explained the murder by saying he had been under pressure from a separate rape charge, the office said.
Attorneys for Michael argued this afternoon that he deserved clemency because he is impaired by Asperger's syndrome, and is deeply remorseful for his actions. A clinical social worker and forensic psychologist testified that the disorder affects how Michael forms relationships and makes choices.
A number of Trista Eng's friends and relatives, including her mother, brother and sister, spoke against the bid for clemency. Suzanne Eng, Trista's mother, told the board that memories of her child have stayed with her throughout years of special occasions and ordinary days.
"I was told he tied her up, covered her head and as she begged him not to kill her, he shot her three times," Ms. Eng said. "Can you imagine that? Can you imagine that happening to you? Now picture it happening to a 16-year-old."
The four board members participating in the case voted against clemency. Attorney General Linda Kelly recused herself. Separate legal attempts to stop the execution are ongoing.
Karen Langley: email@example.com or 717-787-2141