On 20 April, the Governor of Virginia commuted the death sentence of Ivan Teleguz, a Ukrainian national who was scheduled to be executed on 25 April and who has continued to maintain his innocence.
Ivan Teleguz was sentenced to death for hiring Michael Hetrick to commit the murder of Stephanie Sipe in Harrisonburg, Virginia on July 23rd 2001. Michael Hetrick, Edwin Gilkes and Aleksey Safanov each received deals in exchange for testifying against Ivan Teleguz. Michael Hetrick avoided the death penalty, while Edwin Gilkes was given a deal that would allow his release in 2018. Edwin Gilkes testified that Ivan Teleguz was involved in another arranged murder in Ephrata, Pennsylvania. The prosecutor urged jurors to sentence him to death based on this evidence of a pattern of how he “solves problems” with arranged murder.