Jindal rebuffs call from bishops to stop execution

BATON ROUGE (AP) — Gov. Bobby Jindal won't

halt next week's execution of a DeSoto Parish man, the governor's office

said Tuesday,

rejecting a request from Louisiana's Catholic bishops to stop the

lethal injection.

Christopher Sepulvado is scheduled to die on Feb. 13 for the beating and scalding death of his stepson, 6-year-old Wesley

Mercer, two decades ago.

"The trial was handled appropriately, and

the punishment decided on by a jury of Mr. Sepulvado's peers is

proportional to

the crime he committed. The governor sees no reason to intervene

in this case," Jindal spokesman Sean Lansing said in a statement.

The Catholic governor was asked by the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops to stop the execution, which will be held

on the Christian holy day of Ash Wednesday.

The group, which represents the seven Catholic dioceses of Louisiana, said carrying out the death sentence at the start of

the somber season of Lent "would be inconsistent with the Lenten call for reconciliation and redemption and an unnecessary

tragic irony."

Sepulvado was convicted of first-degree murder for the 1992 killing at his Mansfield home.

According to court records, Sepulvado

repeatedly hit the young boy on the head with a screwdriver handle and

then immersed

him in a bathtub filled with scalding water that burned 60 percent

of his body. The boy had come home from school with soiled

pants.

In a statement, the Catholic bishops called Sepulvado's actions evil and tragic.

But the group added, "He has expressed

remorse for his actions while at the same time embracing his faith and

ministering

to his fellow inmates. Executing Christopher will not bring Wesley

back to life, nor will it provide healing, reconciliation

or peace to those involved."

Sepulvado's lawyers also are asking the courts to block the execution.

They have asked a judge to stop the lethal injection, claiming a lack of information about what drug combination the state

will use. A hearing on the injunction request is set for Friday in Baton Rouge district court.