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UPDATE: Nixon denies clemency in impending execution

Gov. Jay Nixon has denied clemency for condemned inmate Martin Link, just hours after a federal court threw out a lawsuit in which Link complained the governor was certain to do just that.

Link is scheduled to be put to death early Wednesday for the 1991 kidnapping, rape and murder of 11-year-old Elissa Self-Braun.

In a statement this afternoon, Nixon said that after “careful deliberation” he won’t stop the execution.

“The facts and the evidence supporting the prosecution and conviction of Martin Link for kidnapping, rape and first-degree murder were, and remain, clear and unchanged,” the statement said.

In his federal suit, Link had argued that Nixon has a conflict of interest and cannot objectively consider Link’s clemency application.

Nixon was the state’s attorney general when Link was convicted and sentenced to death. Nixon has also publicly supported capital punishment, including in cases of child rape. Link said an independent board of inquiry should consider his clemency plea.

In an order this morning, U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey disagreed, saying Link “cannot point to any fundamental right to have his clemency petition decided by a governor who arrived to that position without making public statements in support of the death penalty.”

The Missouri Supreme Court last week denied a separate request to halt Link’s execution.

The case is Link v. Nixon, 2:11-cv-4040.