A Canadian who's been on Montana's death row for 30 years has one last chance to avoid execution. 54-year-old Ronald Smith was 24-years-old when he confessed to killing 23-year-old Harvey Mad Man Jr. and 20-year-old Thomas Running Rabbit Jr.
During the original trial, Smith told a Flathead County prosecutor he marched the two Native Americans from Browning into the woods in Glacier National Park at gun point, and then shot them, execution style.
Smith initially requested the death penalty, but he later changed his mind, and has successfully delayed his execution by going through the appellate courts and challenging the death penalty with the Montana State constitution.
Smith's lawyers say they will argue at a clemency hearing Wednesday in Deer Lodge that Smith is deeply remorseful, and that the death penalty is immoral.
"For a civilized society to strap somebody down on the table and just murder them, which is what it is, it's legalized murder,? said attorney Don Vernay. ?Ron has apologized and shown remorse, what more can we do? The guy has committed a terrible crime, but he's deserving of clemency."
The family members of Smith?s victims have pushed for Smith?s sentence to be carried out. Michael Mad Man, the brother of Harvey Mad Man Jr., says a delegation of Blackfeet tribe members from Browning will attend Wednesday?s hearing and several family members will testify against Smith.
"He murdered,? said Mad Man. ?He killed my brother Harvey, my brother Harvey and my cousin Thomas, execution style, and that's what we want too."
The hearing starts at 9 a.m. at the state correctional center. Afterwards, the parole board will make a recommendation - for or against clemency - to Governor Brian Schweitzer, who will ultimately decide Smith?s fate.