Church Members Say Priest’s Alleged Murderer Should Be Spared Death Penalty

iStock/Thinkstock(AUGUSTA, Ga.) — Members of a Florida church are asking prosecutors to spare the life a man who is accused of killing their beloved priest.

Members of the Diocese of St. Augustine say the victim, Father Rene Robert, signed a "Declaration of Life," a personal statement of opposition to the death penalty before he was fatally shot last Spring, according to ABC News affiliate WTLV.

Steven Murray, the 28-year-old murder suspect, allegedly shot Robert to death in April and then lead police to his body in a wooded area in Georgia, according to WTLV.

Augusta-Richmond County District Attorney Ashley Wright has filed notice that she plans to seek the death penalty, but members of the diocese are traveling to Georgia Tuesday with the hopes of changing her mind.

The church members said the declaration, which they say was written and signed by Robert himself, should be honored.

"There is no need to kill the person even if he deserved that, there is no need," Bishop Felipe Estevez told WTLV.

Several Bishops and Clergy members are planning to hold a news conference outside of the Augusta county courthouse Tuesday at 11 a.m. local time.

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