Governor Denies Hansen's Request For Clemency

Gov. Ronnie Musgrove on Tuesday denied a death row inmate's request for clemency, moving the state one step closer to its first execution in 13 years.

Tracy Alan Hansen is scheduled to be given a lethal injection at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman.

"The sentence of death is just and it is justified,'' Musgrove said.

Hansen, now 39, was sentenced to die in 1987 for the shooting death of State Trooper Bruce Ladner. Ladner was shot after stopping Hansen's car on Interstate 10 on a traffic violation.

Hansen's female companion was sentenced to life in prison.

Merrida Coxwell of Jackson, one of Hansen's attorneys, said last week the condemned man would pursue every legal avenue to block the execution. Attorneys have filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court, challenging Hansen's indictment. Other appeals are possible.

Barring successful late appeals, Hansen will be the first inmate executed in Mississippi since 1989 when Leo Edwards Jr. was put to death. Hansen's execution will be Mississippi's first-ever lethal injection.

The Mississippi Supreme Court on Monday denied a request to grant a late reprieve in the execution. In a one-page order, Chief Justice Edwin L. Pittman said the court would not change its July 3 order that dismissed Hansen's application for post-conviction relief and stay of execution.

Attorney General Mike Moore said Tuesday that he thinks Mississippi could have other executions in the next few months.

"The death penalty really only acts as a deterrent when it's carried out,'' Moore said. "So when you have successive executions, there will be some deterrent effect. There will be a lot of publicity, obviously, around those executions and I think the word will go out that if you commit one of these heinous crimes that not only could you be executed, but that you will be executed."

Moore plans to watch Hansen's execution.