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Montana. board recommends Canadian on death row be denied clemency; governor has final say

AP Photo/The Missoulian, Michael Gallacher

Convicted murderer Ronald Smith is escorted in for his clemency hearing at Powell County District Court on May 2, in Deer Lodge. Smith, of Red Deer, Alberta, is asking board members for a recommendation that the governor commute his death sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole. His lawyers want them to look beyond the horrific murders of two cousins in 1983.

HELENA — The Montana Parole Board is recommending that a Canadian man on death row be denied clemency

Ronald A. Smith's case now goes to Gov. Brian Schweitzer, who has the final say on the matter.

Smith is seeking life in prison without the possibility for parole — instead of the death sentence he now faces.

He asked for and received the death penalty at his 1983 trial for shooting two Blackfeet cousins. But Smith now says that was a mistake and argues he is a changed man who doesn't deserve to die.

But Blackfeet tribal members and family of the victims argue the execution has been postponed for too long.

The parole board tells Schweitzer that justice is best served by rejecting the clemency request.


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