On Monday, the night before announcing his decision to commute Robert Gattis’ death sentence to life in prison, Delaware Governor Jack Markell visited with victim Shirley Slay’s family.
“It was a very difficult thing to do and I went and apologized to them, but I told them that I wanted them to hear it from me personally.”
A judgement call Markell says he felt was the right thing in this case.
“I lost plenty of sleep over it. I read everything very carefully, I prayed about it and it was just, it was an incredibly difficult decision because of the impact on the family of Shirley Slay,” said Markell. “In the end, I know, there’s a lot of people unhappy about it, but in the end I just was not prepared to go through.”
As for Shirley Slay’s mother, father and brother, The News Journal reports the Slays, who Markell describes as a “people of faith,” accept the Governor’s decision.
“I said I know perhaps you won’t be prepared to accept it, and I understand that, but I just, again, wanted to reach out to them personally.”