Two New Federal Death Sentences in Non-Death Penalty State
On May 29, 2007, a jury in Charleston, West Virginia, recommended death sentences for George Lecco and Valerie Friend for the murder of Carla Collins in order to protect their drug ring. Prosecutors maintained that Lecco arranged to have Collins killed and that Friend did the shooting in 2005. Formal sentencing was scheduled for August 23. The judge is required to follow the jury's recommendation. These are the first federal death sentences in West Virginia since the federal law was reinstated in 1988. (Charleston Daily Mail, May 29, 2007). West Virginia is the sixth state without its own death penalty to have a federal death sentence handed down. All such sentences have come since 2000. Valerie Friend will be the second woman on federal death row.