The Arizona Supreme Court allowed the execution of inmate Murray Hooper to go ahead despite the charges


Arizona can move forward with the execution of death row inmate Murray Hooper next month, the state’s highest court ruled Wednesday. The state Supreme Court granted the motion to order the execution of the 76-year-old man.

He will die by lethal injection or gas in an execution scheduled for Nov. 16, according to an arrest warrant signed by four judges. The other three surrendered.

Murray Hooper


Kelly Culshaw, an assistant federal public defender representing Hooper, reiterated that Hooper has maintained his innocence in the New Year’s Eve 1980 double murders.

He was convicted and sentenced “based on corrupt police practices and unreliable witness testimony,” Culshaw said in a statement.

“There is no physical evidence linking him to the crime and Mr Hooper’s execution should not be carried out until analysis of key fingerprint and DNA evidence, which was scientifically unavailable at the time of his trial, has been completed,” she added.

Hooper’s defense team filed a petition in Maricopa County Superior Court in September requesting post-conviction DNA and other forensic tests.

The petition claims Hooper was convicted in 1982, before computerized fingerprinting and DNA testing systems were available.

He and two co-defendants were sentenced to death for the murders of William “Pat” Redmond and his mother-in-law, Helen Phelps, during a home robbery in Phoenix. Redmond’s wife, Marilyn, was shot in the head but recovered.

Hooper’s defense attorneys say her description of the attackers changed several times before she identified Hooper, who claimed he was not in Arizona at the time. He also claims that the criminal informants who helped implicate Hooper were swayed by incentives from the police.

Two other condemned men died before their sentences could be carried out.

When Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced in July that he intended to seek an arrest warrant, he called the death “an appropriate response … for the victims, their families and our communities.”

CBS affiliate KPHO-TV reports Arizona resumed executions on death row this year after a nearly eight-year hiatus.

Hooper would be the third person executed this year, the station reports. In May, Clarence Wayne Dixon was executed for the murder of a 21-year-old Arizona State University student in 1978 and in June Frank Atwood died by lethal injection at Florence State Prison for the 1984 murder of an 8-year-old Tucson girl.

There are 111 inmates on Arizona’s death row and 22 have exhausted their appeals, the attorney general’s office said.



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