The inmate, Matheney, 54, was set to testify Monday morning in the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City. When he didn't show, his attorneys left the room to speak to him privately. About 15 minutes later, they returned to announce he would not appear.
Matheney attorney Carol Heise, explained her client is delusional and psychotic, urged the board still to consider clemency.
"It's a matter of life and death, and you're the chairman of the board," she told Rizzo. "There's a mentally ill prisoner here."
Rizzo replied: "We can't conduct a hearing without that prisoner. That's that."
The decedent's father, Eugene Bianco, who attended the hearing, explained that Matheney's refusal to testify was an attempt to manipulate the system. "He's not mentally ill," said Bianco who has no formal psychiatric training but does visit his daughter's grave every week. "It's just the way he is."