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News Scan

Delaware Gov. Commutes Killer's Death Sentence: Randall Chase of the Associated Press reports Delaware Governor Jack Markell accepted a recommendation from the state Board of Pardons to commute Robert Gattis' death sentence to life in prison without parole. Gattis was scheduled to be executed by lethal injection Friday for the murder of a 27-year-old woman, who prosecutors argued he shot in a jealous rage after years of physically abusing her. Gattis' attorneys argued the courts never properly weighed the accounts of physical and sexual abuse Gattis claims to have suffered as a child.

Oversight of California's Prison Medical System to End: Don Thompson of the Associated Press reports U.S. District Court Judge Thelton Henderson on Tuesday ordered California officials to prepare for the end of a six-year, court-ordered oversight of the medical system in the state's prisons. Nearly six years ago a receiver was appointed to run California's prison medical system. Under the receivership, the state doubled the amount of money it spent on inmate health care over five years. Henderson ordered the appointed receiver, state officials, and attorneys representing inmates to report by April 30 when the receivership should end and if it should continue some oversight role.

Victim's Father Speaks Out About Reported Serial Killer Suicide: Scott Smith of The Record reports the father of Cyndi Vanderheiden, one of the victims of Loren Herzog and Wesley Shermantine, said he would have killed Herzog himself if he had the chance. Cyndi disappeared in 1999, and her body has never been found. John Vanderheiden said he is prepared to make the four-hour drive to Susanville to get concrete proof that Herzog is dead. "I just want to make sure it is Loren Herzog and that will be some relief," he said. The Lassen County District Attorney's Office, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and the state's Office of the Inspector General are all investigating the apparent suicide. Vanderheiden said he hopes that now with Herzog gone and Shermantine on death row, someone will feel safe enough to reveal where the remains of his daughter are buried. He called Herzog a coward and said, "if he was going to kill himself, why didn't he tell us where the bodies were?" "Then we could bury her," he said. Scott Smith has more details about the apparent hanging here

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