Christopher Sepulvado

[Editor's Note: A federal judge has done what Gov. Jindal was unwilling to do: delay the execution. Read more about it here.]

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. Bobby Jindal won't halt next week's execution of a DeSoto Parish man, the governor's office said Tuesday, rejecting a request from Louisiana's Catholic bishops to stop the lethal injection.

Christopher Sepulvado is scheduled to die on Feb. 13 for the beating and scalding death of his stepson, 6-year-old Wesley Mercer, two decades ago.

"The trial was handled appropriately, and the punishment decided on by a jury of Mr. Sepulvado's peers is proportional to the crime he committed. The governor sees no reason to intervene in this case," Jindal spokesman Sean Lansing said in a statement.

The Catholic governor was asked by the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops to stop the execution, which will be held on the Christian holy day of Ash Wednesday.

The group, which represents the seven Catholic dioceses of Louisiana, said carrying out the death sentence at the start of the somber season of Lent "would be inconsistent with the Lenten call for reconciliation and redemption and an unnecessary tragic irony."

Sepulvado was convicted of first-degree murder for the 1992 killing at his Mansfield home.

According to court records, Sepulvado repeatedly hit the young boy on the head with a screwdriver handle and then immersed him in a bathtub filled with scalding water that burned 60 percent of his body. The boy had come home from school with soiled pants.

In a statement, the Catholic bishops called Sepulvado's actions evil and tragic.

But the group added, "He has expressed remorse for his actions while at the same time embracing his faith and ministering to his fellow inmates. Executing Christopher will not bring Wesley back to life, nor will it provide healing, reconciliation or peace to those involved."

Sepulvado's lawyers also are asking the courts to block the execution.

They have asked a judge to stop the lethal injection, claiming a lack of information about what drug combination the state will use. A hearing on the injunction request is set for Friday in Baton Rouge district court.

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