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Clemency board rejects inmate’s bid for mercy

FLORENCE, Ariz. (AP) — A state board on Friday rejected a death row inmate’s bid for clemency.

The Arizona Board of Executive Clemency voted against commuting Robert Towery’s death sentence to life in prison.

Towery, 47, is scheduled to be executed Thursday for the murder of a Paradise Valley man two decades ago.

Towery’s scheduled execution comes just 8 days after the state executed Robert Henry Moormann for the brutal killing and dismemberment of his adoptive mother.

Towery, who has been on death row for 20 years, was convicted of first-degree murder, kidnapping and theft in the killing of Mark Jones of Scottsdale.

At trial, the state’s case against Towery rested on the testimony of his roommate, Randy Allen Barker, who also was convicted of killing Jones but was given a reduced charge of second-degree murder for testifying. Barker was released from prison nine years later.

Barker testified that he and Towery had discussed robbing Jones for several weeks before they went to his home on Sept. 4, 1991, with a made-up story that their car had broken down and they needed to use his phone. Jones, who had met Towery before, agreed.

Barker said Towery then pulled a gun on Jones and Barker handcuffed him. The two loaded Jones’ Lincoln Continental with electronics, jewelry, credit cards and cash from the home, before they took him to his bedroom at gunpoint.

Towery had Jones lay face-down with his hands tied behind his back and then tried to inject his arm with battery acid, Barker said. When that had no apparent effect, Towery made a noose out of plastic ties and tried to strangle Jones, Barker testified.

Barker said Jones didn’t put up a struggle but made choking and gagging noises. Because Towery didn’t believe Jones was dead, he made another noose and choked him again, Barker said.

Jones’ body was found the next day.

Barker and Towery were arrested after a security guard identified them from a photo lineup. He reported seeing the two ditch the Lincoln at an apartment complex.

Towery said at trial that he wasn’t in Jones’ home at all when the killing occurred and that Barker must have done it.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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