Arizona high court denies last-minute stay in execution scheduled Wednesday
Published: February 28, 2012 at 7:56 am
The Arizona Supreme Court and a federal court on Monday refused to stop the scheduled execution of a death row inmate who is scheduled to die Wednesday.
It was the second time in five days that the Arizona Supreme Court has denied a stay for Robert Henry Moormann’s pending execution.
The U.S. District Court in Phoenix issued its ruling Monday night, and Moormann’s lawyers have appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.
Moormann, 63, was sentenced to death for the 1984 killing of his adoptive mother while on a prison furlough.
Moormann’s attorneys claim he was diagnosed in early childhood as being mentally retarded and therefore the state can’t execute him.
They have asked the federal appeals court in San Francisco for a preliminary injunction over questions regarding Arizona’s lethal-injection protocol.
The Arizona Department of Corrections gave notice that it plans to use a one-drug protocol for the pending execution and not the three-drug system it has used previously.
In double-checking its chemical inventory during a training session Monday, corrections officials said in a court filing that they realized that their foreign-supplied pancuronium bromide expired last month. Because of the unavailability of pancuronium bromide, they now intend to use domestically obtained pentobarbital in administering the one-drug protocol.
For years, Arizona used a three-drug combination of the fast-acting barbiturate sodium thiopental to anesthetize the condemned person, followed by pancuronium bromide to cause paralysis and potassium chloride to stop the heart.
Moormann told a state clemency board Friday that he remembers some sexual activity with his adoptive mother, Roberta Moormann, on the night he killed her, Jan. 13, 1984, but he can’t remember strangling, stabbing, suffocating or dismembering her.
The Arizona Board of Executive Clemency voted 4-1 against recommending that Gov. Jan Brewer reduce Moormann’s death sentence to life in prison, and it also voted unanimously against recommending any delay in his execution at the state prison in Florence.
Several psychologists have diagnosed Moormann as mentally impaired and some have said there’s overwhelming evidence that Roberta Moormann sexually abused her son throughout his childhood.
Prosecutor Greg Bizzozero told the board that Robert Moormann did not meet Arizona’s legal standard to be considered mentally disabled and the evidence is overwhelming that he planned his mother’s death, and beat and stabbed her before he killed her.
Moormann was serving nine years to life in prison for kidnapping and molesting an 8-year-old girl when the state let him out on the three-day compassionate furlough to see to visit his 74-year-old adoptive mother at a nearby motel.
Moormann beat, stabbed and suffocated his mother before cutting off her head, legs and arms, halving her torso, and flushing all her fingers down the toilet. He then went to various businesses asking if he could dispose of spoiled meat and animal guts before he threw most of her remains in trash bins and sewers.
He was captured after he asked a corrections employee to dispose of what he said were dog bones.
Of the 130 inmates on Arizona’s death row, only six have been there longer than Moormann, who has had a slew of health problems over the years and most recently was hospitalized last week.
The last inmate to be executed in Arizona was Thomas Paul West, who was put to death July 19 for the beating death of another man in a 1987 robbery.
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