Idaho man’s June execution canceled, clemency hearing recommended

By Ruth Brown, Idaho Reports

A decision from the Idaho Commission of Pardons and Parole on Tuesday led to the cancelation of Gerald Pizzuto Jr.’s June 2 execution date.

Pizzuto Jr., 64, has been on death row for more than 35 years after he was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder in Idaho County.

The Commission of Pardons and Parole granted Pizzuto a clemency hearing, scheduled for November. The decision postpones Pizzuto’s execution. Second District Judge Jay Gaskill signed the order to stay the execution on Tuesday.

“We are so grateful Mr. Pizzuto will not be executed on June 2, and that the Commission has granted a clemency hearing for him. We look forward to proving that he deserves mercy,” said Deborah Czuba, supervising attorney of the Capital Habeas Unit in a written statement. “Mr. Pizzuto has spent 35 years on death row and is now dying from cancer and other diseases. He also was brutalized throughout his childhood by his stepfather, a serial pedophile and sadistic man who beat, raped and humiliated him on a regular basis for years. Our hope is that he will be allowed to die naturally in prison.”

According to his clemency petition, Pizzuto has stage 4 terminal bladder cancer and has been on hospice care for a year. He is confined to a wheelchair and suffers from serious heart disease. In December of 2019, his physician stated he likely had less than 12 months to live. Read more here.

Pizzuto was convicted in the 1985 deaths of Berta Herndon and her nephew Delbert Herndon outside of McCall. His two co-defendants, William Odom and James Rice, were given lesser sentences for their roles in the crime.

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