Pope Benedict XVI has joined the growing number of public officials asking for leniency for Martin Edward Grossman, scheduled to be executed in Florida on Tuesday at 6 PM (1 AM Wednesday morning, Israel time) for the 1984 murder of Margaret Park, a 26-year-old wildlife park officer.
In a letter to Florida Governor Charlie Crist, Archbishop Fernando Filoni, writing on behalf of the Pope, said that Grossman "has repented and is now a changed person, having become a man of faith," and asked for "whatever steps may be possible to save the life of Mr. Grossman.''
A team of top attorneys made a final case for a stay of execution on Tuesday morning, based on the fact that Grossman is mentally impaired and that the murder was not premeditated. Efforts are still being made to seek an 11th-hour stay of execution for Grossman from Governor Crist. A phone number has been publicized at which the governor can be reached in the coming hours - 850-488-5603 - and asked to spare the life of Martin Grossman.
His Hebrew name is Michoel Yechiel ben Miriam Sorah.
Other public figures who have come to the defense of Grossman include Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel and Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, as well as the Chief Rabbis of Israel.