Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Arizona executes man responsible for six murders

The 32nd Execution of 2013

On October 23, 2013, Arizona executed a man convicted of killing six people in Tucson during two armed robberies 17 years ago.

Robert Glen Jones Jr. was given a lethal dose of pentobarbital at 10:35 a.m. MST and was pronounced dead 17 minutes later in the execution chamber at the state prison in Florence.

It took execution technicians about 30 minutes to find usable veins in Jones, a former drug user. At one point, Jones jokingly said: “Shooting dope. Free up one of my hands and I’ll find it for you.”

When the warden asked whether Jones had any last words, he said: “Love and respect my friends and family and hope my friends are never here.”

He never turned his head to look at the witnesses on the other side of a window. Because of limited space in the execution building’s witness room, only 18 of the 22 invited victim relatives were inside.

Jones, 43, and an accomplice were convicted of killing two people at the Moon Smoke Shop on May 30, 1996, and four others at the Firefighters Union Hall social club 14 days later.

The two also were charged with stealing at least $1,300 from cash registers.

They were arrested months later after co-defendant Scott Nordstrom’s brother, who was the getaway driver, told authorities about the crimes.

David Nordstrom cut a deal with prosecutors by testifying against his brother and Jones. He eventually pleaded guilty to armed robbery and served less than four years in prison.

Like Jones, Scott Nordstrom was convicted on six counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to death. He remains on death row.

Jones was executed about two hours after the U.S. Supreme Court denied motions for a stay of execution and a rehearing of his case.

Federal public defenders had argued that Jones had ineffective counsel at his 1998 trial and that a now-deceased Pima County prosecutor withheld evidence. They still questioned David Nordstrom’s testimony.

Jones didn’t attend his clemency hearing last week or write a letter to the board. He declined interview requests.

It was Arizona’s 36th execution since 1992 and the second this month. On Oct. 9, the state executed 71-year-old Edward Schad, who was convicted of killing a Bisbee man in 1978.

There are 120 people remaining on Arizona’s death row, including two women.

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