Judge keeps Arizona execution plan on track for Wednesday

Nov 14, 2022, 4:59 PM | Updated: 5:10 pm

FILE - This undated file photo provided by the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry shows Murray Hooper. Hooper is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on Nov. 16, 2022, for his convictions in the 1980 killings of Pat Redmond and his mother-in-law, Helen Phelps, in Phoenix. On Monday, Nov. 14 a federal judge denied Hooper's bid to postpone the execution. (Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry via AP, File)

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

PHOENIX (AP) — Plans to execute an Arizona man on Wednesday remain on track after a judge refused to postpone the lethal injection, rejecting a bid to allow fingerprint and DNA testing on evidence from two 1980s killings that led to the inmate’s death sentence.

Lawyers for Murray Hooper said their client is innocent, that no physical evidence ties him to the killings of William “Pat” Redmond and his mother-in-law, Helen Phelps, and that testing could lead to identifying those responsible. They say Hooper was convicted in an era before computerized fingerprint systems and DNA testing were available in criminal cases.

U.S. District Judge Stephen McNamee wrote in Monday’s order that the argument by Hooper’s lawyers was flawed in concluding that such testing will automatically establish his innocence.

“Even if forensic testing establishes what Plaintiff (Hooper) hopes it will, that alone will not invalidate the other evidence used to convict him,” McNamee wrote.

McNamee wrote that the absence of Hooper’s fingerprints on evidence wouldn’t undermine witness testimony that he took part in the killings. He especially noted the testimony of Redmond’s wife, Marilyn, who authorities said had been shot in the head when Hooper and two other men forced their way into the Redmond home on Dec. 31, 1980. She survived the attack and testified against Hooper.

Hooper’s attorneys, who are appealing the judge’s decision, said in a statement that Arizona shouldn’t move forward with the execution plan until the testing is done and his legal team has adequate time to review the evidence.

His lawyers say Marilyn Redmond’s description of the assailants changed several times before she identified their client, who said he was not in Arizona at the time. They also raised questions about the benefits received by witnesses who testified against her client, including favorable treatment in other criminal cases.

“For 40 years, Mr. Hooper has maintained that he was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death based on corrupt police practices and unreliable witness testimony,” the defense team said.

State courts had previously rejected Hooper’s request for the testing, with a lower-court judge concluding that the evidence implicating Hooper was overwhelming.

Two other men, William Bracy and Edward McCall, were convicted in the killings but died before their death sentences 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 state’s third prisoner put to death this year after Arizona resumed carrying out executions in May, following a nearly eight-year hiatus attributed to both the difficulty of obtaining lethal injection drugs and criticism that a 2014 execution was botched.

There are 111 inmates on Arizona’s death row, and 22 have exhausted their appeals, according to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.

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

AP

Associated Press

India’s G-20 energy meet to balance renewables, fossil fuels

BENGALURU, India (AP) — Over 500 energy industry heavyweights and 30,000 participants will descend on the southern Indian city of Bengaluru on Monday to discuss the future of renewables and fossil fuels at India Energy Week — the first big ticket event of the country’s presidency of the Group of 20 leading economies. Speakers, including […]
22 hours ago
FILE - Mega Millions lottery tickets and a wager slip are displayed, Friday, Jan. 6, 2023, in Derry...
Arizona Sports

Drawing nears for $700M Powerball prize, 10th biggest in US

Another huge lottery jackpot will be on the line Saturday for players willing to put up $2 vs. daunting odds of actually winning the prize.
22 hours ago
Chinese spy balloon flies above in Charlotte NC, United States on February 04, 2023. The Pentagon a...
Associated Press

US downs suspected Chinese spy balloon off the Carolina coast

The United States on Saturday downed a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the Carolina coast after it traversed sensitive military sites.
22 hours ago
A man works at an avocado orchard in Santa Ana Zirosto, Michoacan state, Mexico, Thursday, Jan. 26,...
Associated Press

Route to Super Bowl dangerous for Mexico’s avocado haulers

SANTA ANA ZIROSTO, Mexico (AP) — It is a long and sometimes dangerous journey for truckers transporting the avocados destined for guacamole on tables and tailgates in the United States during the Super Bowl. It starts in villages like Santa Ana Zirosto, high in the misty, pine-clad mountains of the western Mexico state of Michoacan. […]
22 hours ago
Associated Press

Iraqi currency crash halts after meeting with U.S. official

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq’s currency ended its nosedive after a meeting between the Iraqi Central Bank head and a top U.S. Treasury official. Under Secretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence Brian E. Nelson said in a statement Saturday that he had met with Central Bank of Iraq Governor Ali al-Allaq in Istanbul […]
22 hours ago
Associated Press

Gas prices dip in NJ, around nation as cold weather returns

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Gas prices dipped in New Jersey and around the country at large as cold weather descended on parts of the nation following an unusually warm January. AAA Mid-Atlantic says the average price of a gallon of regular gas in New Jersey on Friday was $3.42, down three cents from last week. […]
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...
DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
Judge keeps Arizona execution plan on track for Wednesday