FLORENCE, Ariz. — Arizona on Wednesday executed its second death-row
inmate in two weeks, a man convicted of a pair of deadly robberies that left six
dead in Tucson.
Robert Glen Jones Jr. was given a lethal dose of pentobarbital at 10:35 a.m.
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.
“Robert never looked toward the window. He was completely unremorseful, which
shows his cowardice,” said Clint Hardman, a nephew of one of the victims.
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.
“He killed both of my parents. I think he got off way too easy,” said Chris
Bell, whose parents died in the social club.
No relatives of Jones attended the execution, and defense attorney Dale Baich
declined comment after the execution.
Jones and co-defendant Scott Nordstrom were arrested after Nordstrom’s brother,
who admitted being 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 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.