AP

Arizona prisoner to die by lethal injection, not gas chamber

Oct 26, 2022, 12:33 AM | Updated: 1:02 pm

FILE - This undated photo provided by the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Ree...

FILE - This undated photo provided by the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry shows prisoner Murray Hooper, who is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on Nov. 16, 2022, for his convictions in the 1980 killings of William "Pat" Redmond and Helen Phelps in Phoenix. On Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022, Hooper's attorneys said their client declined to pick an execution method when officials asked him if he wanted to die by lethal injection or gas chamber. (Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry via AP, File)

(Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry via AP, File)


              FILE - This undated file photo provided by the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry shows prisoner Murray Hooper, who is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on Nov. 16, 2022, for his convictions in the 1980 killings of William "Pat" Redmond and Helen Phelps in Phoenix. On Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022, Hooper's attorneys said their client declined to pick an execution method when officials asked him if he wanted to die by lethal injection or gas chamber. (Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry via AP, File)
            
              FILE - This undated photo provided by the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry shows prisoner Murray Hooper, who is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on Nov. 16, 2022, for his convictions in the 1980 killings of William "Pat" Redmond and Helen Phelps in Phoenix. On Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022, Hooper's attorneys said their client declined to pick an execution method when officials asked him if he wanted to die by lethal injection or gas chamber. (Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry via AP, File)

PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona prisoner who is scheduled to be executed in three weeks for two 1980 killings will be put to death by lethal injection, making him the third condemned person to decline lethal gas since the state refurbished the chamber where it carried out the last U.S. execution by gas more than 20 years ago.

Attorneys for Murray Hooper said Wednesday that he declined to pick a method of execution when corrections officials asked him if he wanted to die by lethal injection or the gas chamber. Lethal injection is Arizona’s default execution method when condemned prisoners refuse to make a selection.

His lawyers declined to comment on the method by which he would be executed on Nov. 16 for the killings of William ‘Pat” Redmond and Redmond’s mother-in-law, Helen Phelps.

The last lethal gas execution in the United States was carried out in 1999 in Arizona. The state’s gas chamber at the prison in Florence, southeast of Phoenix, was dormant as Arizona started using lethal injection.

Corrections officials have declined to say why they refurbished the gas chamber and purchased materials to make hydrogen cyanide gas, which was used in some past U.S. executions and at Nazi concentration camps during World War II.

Death penalty experts say the United States switched to lethal injection due to the horrific nature of gas executions, which they say are slow and leave the condemned gasping for breath and thrashing in their restraints while appearing to be in excruciating pain.

Arizona, California, Missouri and Wyoming are the only states with old gas execution laws still on the books. Arizona is the only one that still has a working gas chamber.

Deborah Denno, a Fordham Law School professor who has studied executions for more 25 years, said it’s not unusual for death row prisoners to refuse to complete method-of-execution forms, as condemned people who are depressed and resigned aren’t likely to be focused on how they will be put to death.

“This is not foremost in their minds in the way it may seem to seem to someone not in their position,” Denno said.

Authorities say Redmond and Phelps were killed after Hooper and two other men forced their way into Redmond’s home on Dec. 31, 1980. Redmond’s wife, Marilyn, was shot in the head but survived and testified against Hooper.

Lawyers for Hooper say he is innocent and was in Chicago at the time of the killings.

Two other men, William Bracy and Edward McCall, were convicted in the killings but died before their executions could be carried out.

Authorities say Robert Cruz, who was alleged to have had ties to organized crime, hired Hooper, Bracy and McCall to kill Pat Redmond, who co-owned a printing business. They said Cruz wanted to take over the business and was unhappy that Redmond had rejected his offers to enter several printing contracts with Las Vegas hotels, according to court records. In 1995, Cruz was acquitted of murder charges in both deaths.

Hooper would be the third Arizona prisoner put to death since the state resumed carrying out executions in May following a nearly eight-year hiatus attributed to the difficulty of obtaining lethal injection drugs and criticism that a 2014 execution was botched.

In recent years, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Alabama have passed laws allowing executions with nitrogen gas, at least in some circumstances, though experts say it has never been done and no state has established a protocol that would allow it, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

The last prisoner to be executed in a U.S. gas chamber was Walter LaGrand, the second of two German brothers sentenced to death for killing a bank manager in 1982 in southern Arizona. It took LaGrand 18 minutes to die.

Arizona’s gas chamber refurbishment was condemned internationally, including coverage in Israel and Germany drawing parallels to Holocaust atrocities.

There are 111 prisoners on Arizona’s death row and 22 have exhausted their appeals, according to the state attorney general’s office.

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

AP

Water spills over the Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River, which runs along the Washington and Ore...

Associated Press

Biden deal with tribes promises $200M for Columbia River salmon reintroduction

The Biden administration has pledged over $200 million toward reintroducing salmon in the Upper Columbia River Basin in an agreement with tribes that includes a stay on litigation for 20 years.

21 hours ago

FILE - Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., arrives for a vote on Capitol Hill, Sept. 6, 2023 in Washington. ...

Associated Press

Sen. Menendez, wife indicted on bribe charges as probe finds $100,000 in gold bars, prosecutors say

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey and his wife have been indicted on charges of bribery.

24 hours ago

A man holds an iPhone next to an Amazon Echo, center, and a Google Home, right, in New York on June...

Associated Press

Amazon unveils a ‘smarter and more conversational’ Alexa amid AI race among tech companies

Amazon has unveiled a slew of gadgets and an update to its popular voice assistant Alexa, infusing it with more generative AI features to better compete with other tech companies who’ve rolled out flashy chatbots.

1 day ago

murdoch...

David Bauder, The Associated Press

Rupert Murdoch, whose creation of Fox News made him a force in American politics, is stepping down

Murdoch inherited a newspaper in Adelaide, Australia, from his father in 1952 and eventually built a news and entertainment enterprise.

2 days ago

FILE - United Auto Workers members walk a picket line during a strike at the Ford Motor Company Mic...

Associated Press

United Auto Workers threaten to expand targeted strike if there is no substantive progress by Friday

The United Auto Workers union is stepping up pressure on Detroit’s Big Three by threatening to expand its strike unless it sees major progress in contract negotiations by Friday.

3 days ago

FILE - The Amazon Prime logo appears on the side of a delivery van as it departs an Amazon Warehous...

Associated Press

Amazon plans to hire 250,000 workers for holiday season

Amazon said on Tuesday that it will hire 250,000 full- and part-time workers for the holiday season, a 67% jump compared to last year.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife...

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a busy month on the sports calendar and also holds a very special designation: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Ziply Fiber...

Dan Miller

The truth about Gigs, Gs and other internet marketing jargon

If you’re confused by internet technologies and marketing jargon, you’re not alone. Here's how you can make an informed decision.

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Arizona prisoner to die by lethal injection, not gas chamber