Vigil against the death penalty.
Phoenix: March 28, 2011.
"Clerical error" my ass, Horne. Of course they requested the drug for use on an "animal" - they don't care if it's defective. They would have executed him for the first crime if they could have - that was pretty horrific: we could line up thousands of guys if we did that, though, for money that could be used saving lives instead. Besides, the AZ Department of Corrections does a better job assuring that their dogs don't suffer the discomfort of summer than they do preventing wretched deaths from befalling the people in their custody - including the ones not sentenced to be executed.
I bet the director of the ADC has a good sleep tonight, defending the public by assuring this man's death. The Arizona Justice Project didn't pick up Eric King's case for some reason, but not necessarily because he isn't innocent - they go with what they think they can win, and can't afford to pin their name on someone who hasn't been cleared. I wonder if it ever bothers Chuck Ryan that so many people have been exonerated. How utterly unnecessary - and unjust, considering how casual this state is about neglect and abuse befalling the people in its custody.
Our condolences to King's kid. I don't think he was asking too much.
This page has links to death penalty resources.
Arizona executes Eric John King Tuesday, March 29, 2011 Associated Press
FLORENCE, Ariz. — A man convicted of killing two people in a 1989 Phoenix convenience store robbery was executed Tuesday despite last-minute arguments by his attorneys who raised questions over one of the lethal injection drugs and said they had raised “substantial doubt” about his guilt.
Eric John King’s death at the state prison in Florence was the first execution in the state since October and one of the last expected to use a three-drug lethal injection cocktail.
The 47-year-old had maintained his innocence since his arrest and his lawyers fought until the last minute to get his sentence reversed or delayed.
Defense attorney Mike Burke said before the execution that he visited with King on Tuesday morning.
“Although he’s very calm, he continues to maintain his innocence,” Burke told The Associated Press. “He’s done what he can do. All he has left to do is maintain his dignity.”
The Arizona Supreme Court declined to stay King’s execution Monday after Burke argued that the state should wait until it enacts its new lethal injection protocol. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to intervene.
Corrections Director Charles Ryan announced Friday that Arizona will switch to using just one drug in an effort to allay any “perceived concerns” that sodium thiopental is ineffective, but only after the scheduled executions of King and Daniel Wayne Cook on April 5.
Defense attorney Michael Burke had argued that the Department of Corrections may have engaged in fraud when it imported the sedative from Great Britain by listing it on forms as being for “animals (food processing),” not humans.
Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne said the mislabeling resulted from a clerical error.
Arizona obtained the drug legally, and that’s why it has been able to avoid problems other states have had, Assistant Attorney General Kent Cattani has said. Georgia’s supply of sodium thiopental was seized by federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents on March 15 over questions about how it was obtained.
The drug is part of the three-drug lethal injection cocktail used by nearly all 34 death penalty states, but it became scarce last year after the sole U.S. manufacturer stopped making it.
Some states started obtaining sodium thiopental overseas, and lawyers have argued that potentially adulterated, counterfeit or ineffective doses could subject prisoners to extreme pain.
Texas and Oklahoma recently announced they are switching from sodium thiopental to pentobarbital in their three-drug protocol. Ohio has switched to using only pentobarbital for its executions, and Ryan said that’s the drug Arizona might start using.
Burke also was unable to successfully argue that King be granted clemency at a hearing Thursday. Burke had argued that the two key witnesses who testified against King at his trial have changed their stories, that no physical evidence exists and surveillance video used at trial was of extremely poor quality.
Vince Imbordino, a prosecutor with the Maricopa County attorney’s office, argued that the photographic evidence was clear and that if jurors didn’t believe King was guilty, they wouldn’t have convicted him.
King was convicted of fatally shooting security guard Richard Butts and clerk Ron Barman at a Phoenix convenience store two days after Christmas in 1989. Butts and Barman both were married fathers whose families have testified that their deaths in a robbery that netted $72 devastated them.
Shortly before the killings, King had been released from a seven-year prison term on kidnapping and sexual assault charges. Police say King, who was 18 at the time, and another man kidnapped a woman and took her to an abandoned house, where both repeatedly and brutally sexually assaulted her over six hours.
Before he was sentenced in that crime, deputy adult probation officer Lee Brinkmoeller wrote that King had plans to reform himself.
“The defendant’s plans for the future are to become a machinist and to have his own car, house, family, and start being able to do things for his mother for all the things she has done for him,” Brinkmoeller wrote. “He states that he wants to have his mother be proud of him before she dies and he wants to be somebody.”
Court documents show King had a troubled childhood. Born in a taxi on the way to the hospital in Phoenix, King was one of 12 siblings whose alcoholic, abusive and mentally disturbed father died of a heart attack when King was 11, according to court records.
Records also say King’s mother struggled to provide for the children, who were so hungry at times that they tried to catch crawdads in irrigation canals and frequently were without electricity.
King reported to a prison psychiatrist that he had heard voices on and off his entire life, and suffered from anxiety and insomnia.
His son, 20-year-old Eric Harrison, saw King for the first time Thursday at the clemency hearing and asked the board to spare his father.
“This is the first time I’ve ever seen my dad, ever in life, and I know I love him,” Harrison said. “That’s my dad. He gave me life. Just don’t take him.”
King is the 23rd death row inmates Arizona has executed with the three-drug method since it began using lethal injection in 1993.
The state had previously executed 38 inmates with lethal gas since it started using that method in 1934. Another 28 inmates were executed by hanging between 1910 and 1931.
Source: AP, March 29, 2011