Protesters gathered outside of the Charlottesville City Courthouse to demonstrate against the execution of convicted serial killer Alfredo Prieto.
The execution was scheduled for 9 p.m. Thursday but was put on temporary hold.
Virginia Rovnyak, senior scientist and statistician for the University School of Nursing, organized the event, providing posters and advertising for the protest with the help of Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.
“If you don’t object to a policy, it’s assumed that you agree with it,” Rovnyak said. “If there’s no opposition, then there’s no reason for the state to change.”
Rovnyak said she believes Prieto is mentally handicapped and should therefore be barred from execution. Prieto requested and was denied a review of his case by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
“It’s only been recently that the Supreme Court said you’re not allowed to execute someone with a severe mental handicap, so it’s only been an issue for a few years since then,” Rovnyak said.
About nine people attended the protest, which Rovnyak said was about expected considering the attendance at protests held against execution in the past.
“This man seems to be a serial murderer and rapist, but for those of us protesting that’s not material,” Rovnyak said. “It’s just wrong.”
Due to an issue regarding the supplier of the drugs intended for Prieto’s execution, Federal Judge Anthony Trenga placed a temporary hold on the execution. Rovnyak said if the execution is rescheduled, they will be back to protest again.