Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Year has Passed Since Oldest Death Row Inmate Evaded Execution

Last year, Viva LeRoy Nash passed away on Arizona’s death row. That is not unusual. For instance in California five times as many death row inmates die of suicide or natural causes as die from lethal injection.

The unusual thing about Nash was that he was 94-years-old when he died on death row. He was the oldest person on death row in America. According to his lawyer he was deaf, blind, disabled, mentally ill and had dementia.

Nash had been imprisoned almost continuously since the age of 15. Nash was born in 1915 and had a criminal record dating to the 1930s. He grew up in southern Utah and was sent to the federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas, in 1930 for an armed robbery.

He spent 25 years in prison for killing a Connecticut police officer in 1947.

In 1977, Nash was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences for a robbery and his second murder which occurred in Salt Lake City. He escaped from a prison work crew in October 1982.

Three weeks later, on November 3, 1982, Nash committed his third murder. He went into a coin shop in Phoenix and demanded money. Nash shot the clerk three times, killing him. He was sentenced to death in 1983.

The only unfortunate thing about Mr. Nash’s case was that he lived another 27 years after his third murder.

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