Albertan Hopes For Death Row Decision By Monday

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RONALD SMITH CANADIAN DEATH ROW
An Albertan on death row in Montana is hoping to be granted clemency this weekend. (CP) | CP

An Albertan on death row in Montana is hoping to be granted clemency this weekend.

Ronald Smith, 55, was sentenced to die for killing Harvey Mad Man and Thomas Running Rabbit on the side of a Montana highway in 1982.

The state's parole board recommended that Smith's death sentence be upheld following a hearing last May.

Ron Waterman, one of Smith's lawyers, says his client is hoping outgoing Gov. Brian Schweitzer grants him clemency before his term ends on Monday.

“We are coming up to, probably, what one could call a decision point. At the end of Gov. Schweitzer’s term he would have the ability, up until the time he was no longer governor, to grant clemency to Ron Smith — to act on the petition and to grant it. Likewise, he could decline to do that.”

Schweitzer’s successor Steve Bullock could also grant Smith clemency. Bullock will be sworn in as governor on Monday.

Another of Smith’s lawyers, Greg Jackson, says Smith is apprehensive ahead of a decision.

“He is obviously very anxious about things being in limbo. Given the fact that his life is on the line, it is something that he no doubt thinks about virtually every waking minute and hour of every day.”

Smith's lawyers are also challenging the way Montana executes people, arguing it is cruel and unusual.

Smith was born in Red Deer, Alta.

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