Update: Wednesday, June 3, 2015 11:39 am EDT
Hubert Lester Michael, Jr. was schedule to be executed at 7 pm EDT, on Friday, June 5, 2015, at the State Correctional Institute Rockview in Rockview, Pennsylvania. His execution has been stayed. Fifty-eight-year-old Hubert has been convicted of raping and murdering16-year-old Trista Eng, near Dillsburg, Pennsylvania, on July 12, 1993. Hubert has spent the last 19 years of his life on Pennsylvania’s death row.
Hubert Michael first saw Trista Eng after answering an chair sale ad. While at the house, Michael stole some wires. A short time later, on July 12, 1993, Trista was walking to her summer job at a local Hardee’s. Hubert Michael pulled up along side of her and offered her a ride, which she accepted. After entering the vehicle, Michael bound Trista with the stolen wires.
Michael drove to the state game lands in Warrington Township. After arriving, Michael raped Trista. He then placed a bag over her head and shot her three times, killing her.
At the time of the murder, Michael was on bail for an unrelated rape in Lancaster County. Following Trista’s murder, Michael fled to Utah, where he was arrested five days later. While awaiting trial, Michael escaped from jail twice; once in November of 1993 and again in March of 1994. He was recaptured both times.
Shortly before Michael was scheduled to go to trial, he pled guilty to the murder of Trista. He received 10-20 years in prison for rape and death for her murder.
Hubert Michael’s first execution was set for August 1996. It was stayed by the District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. Following his stay, Hubert repeatedly changed his mind about pursuing appeals. Hubert also received execution warrants in 2004 and 2012.
This is Hubert’s fifth signed execution warrant. Hubert was last scheduled to be executed on September 22, 2014. He was granted a stay of execution by the 3rd Circuit Court. That stay has now been lifted, although it is unlikely that Hubert will be executed. On Friday, February 13, 2015, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced a moratorium on executions in the state, until he receives and reviews a report on capital punishment in the state, a report which was ordered in 2011. In his announcement, he called the death penalty in Pennsylvania a "flawed system," "ineffective," "unjust," and "expensive." The governor will continue to issue stay of executions until all problems in the report are satisfactorily addressed. Read more about the announcement here. The Pennsylvania District Attorney Tom Kearney has written to Governor Wolf, asking that Hubert’s execution be allowed to proceed. Attorney Kearney noted that both state and federal courts, as well as past governors, have reviewed Hubert’s case multiple times. Attorney Kearney also stated that to grant Hubert a reprieve would “make a mockery of the judicial system.”
Due to Governor’s Wolf’s decision, he has refused to sign any execution warrants. Hubert’s notice of execution was issued by Department of Corrections Secretary John Wentzel, which is in accordance with state law. State law requires the corrections secretary to issue an execution notice if the governor does not sign a warrant within a specific time frame. Anthony’s execution was stayed on March 26, 2015.
Please pray for peace and healing for the family of Trista Eng. Please pray for the family of Hubert. Please pray that if Hubert is innocent or lacks the mental competency to be executed, evidence will be presented prior to his execution. Please pray that Hubert may come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already.