ARIZONA – Samuel Villegas Lopez – execution – May 16 RESCHEDULED


 Inmate 043833, Samuel V. Lopez

On October 29, 1986, Lopez broke into the apartment of 59-year-old Estafana Holmes. Lopez raped, beat, and stabbed Ms. Holmes. Her body was found nude from the waist down, with her pajama bottoms tied around her eyes. A lace scarf was crammed tightly into her mouth. She had been stabbed 23 times in the left breast and upper chest, three times in her lower abdomen, and her throat was cut. Lopez’ body fluids matched seminal fluids found in Ms. Holmes’ body.

PROCEEDINGS

Presiding Judge: Hon. Peter T. D’Angelo
Prosecutor:Paul Ahler
Defense Counsel: Joel Brown
Start of Trial: April 16, 1987
Verdict: April 27, 1987
Sentencing: June 25, 1987
Resentencing: August 3, 1990

Aggravating Circumstances
Especially heinous, cruel or depraved

PUBLISHED OPINIONS
State v. Lopez (Samuel V.), 163 Ariz. 108, 786 P.2d 959 (1990).
State v. Lopez (Samuel V.), 175 Ariz. 407, 857 P.2d 1261 (1993).

affidavit of Samuel villegas Lopez (us.court) pdf file

petition for post conviction relief (us court) pdf file

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May 23, Source : http://www.kpho.com

The Arizona Supreme Court has denied a petition to review the case of a death row inmate set for execution next week.

Lawyers for Samuel Villegas Lopez had asked the state’s high court to review a lower court’s order dismissing his petition for post-conviction relief on March 30.

The state Supreme Court issued its ruling Wednesday without comment. There’s no immediate response from Lopez’s attorneys.

The 49-year-old Lopez is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection May 16 at the state prison in Florence in what would be the fourth execution in Arizona this year.

Lopez was convicted of raping, robbing and stabbing a 59-year-old woman to death in her Phoenix apartment on Oct. 29, 1986, after what court records described as a “terrible and prolonged struggle.”

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PHOENIX (Reuters) – Arizona’s top court issued a stay of execution on Tuesday for death row inmate Samuel Villegas Lopez, a day before he was scheduled to die by lethal injection, to address claims that he had been denied a chance at a fair clemency hearing.

Villegas Lopez was sentenced to death for raping 59-year-old Estafana Holmes and stabbing her to death in a violent, drawn-out assault at her Phoenix apartment in 1986

The Arizona Supreme Court rescheduled his execution for June 27 so that attorneys could address claims that he was denied a fair clemency hearing because some members of the state clemency board had not received a mandated four-week training course.

“We conclude that the interests of justice are best served by staying the pending execution and forthwith issuing … a new warrant of execution, for June 27,” the court said in its ruling.

“The period between now and the new execution date will allow training of new board members and a clemency hearing to be subsequently held by the board,” it added.

He had been due to die by lethal injection at 10 a.m. on Wednesday morning, at the state prison in Florence, some 60 miles southeast of Phoenix.

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Update may 9, 2012 source : http://azcapitoltimes.com

The Arizona Supreme Court has denied a petition to review the case of a death row inmate set for execution next week.

Lawyers for Samuel Villegas Lopez had asked the state’s high court to review a lower court’s order dismissing his petition for post-conviction relief on March 30.

The state Supreme Court issued its ruling Wednesday without comment. There’s no immediate response from Lopez’s attorneys.

The 49-year-old Lopez is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection May 16 at the state prison in Florence in what would be the fourth execution in Arizona this year.

Lopez was convicted of raping, robbing and stabbing a 59-year-old woman to death in her Phoenix apartment on Oct. 29, 1986, after what court records described as a “terrible and prolonged struggle.”

……………………………………………………………………

Update may  7, 2012 source : http://www.azfamily.com

PHOENIX, ARIZ.– Lawyers for a death row inmate set to be executed next week will ask the courts to put a hold on the execution because of concerns about how new members were appointed to the Arizona’s Executive Clemency Board, and whether those new members have had adequate training.

Samuel Villegas Lopez is scheduled to be executed on Wednesday May 16 for the brutal rape and murder of Phoenix woman Estefana “Essie” Holmes in 1986. At his clemency hearing on Monday, his attorneys walked out, claiming the appointments of three new members to the board violated state law.

Kelley Henry, a federal public defender who has worked on Lopez’ case for more than a decade, said she believes there have been at least 16 violations of state statutes surrounding the appointments of the new members.

Among her allegations: that the state violated open meeting laws by failing to properly post information about board vacancies, that the new members have not had the four weeks of training required by statute, and that one of the board members has a clear conflict of interest voting on death penalty cases.

After Henry presented the board with her concerns, the members went into a closed-door executive session for close to an hour. When they re-opened the meeting to the public, they said they believed they could fairly continue the hearing, but Henry and her team disagreed and walked out.

“As we know it at this time, this board does not have the authority to conduct the hearing, or move forward,” Henry said.

After the meeting new board Chairman Jesse Hernandez accused Henry of “grasping at straws” and said he and the other two new members, Melvin Thomas and Brian Livingston, are “more than qualified to serve on the board.”

As for questions regarding the amount of training they’ve one, Hernandez said the training process has been started and that’s within the confines of the law.

Lopez’ attorneys plan to file a lawsuit in court Tuesday asking a judge to step in.

In the meantime, at least one board member, former Attorney General Jack LaSota, said he believed Governor Brewer should vacate the warrant for Lopez’ execution to allow time for the issues to be addressed.

“I think the man is entitled at this point to a hearing by a board that has been determined to be appropriate,” LaSota said, adding, “I think our board is appropriate.”

Matt Benson, a spokesman for the Governor, said the Executive Board of Clemency and the selection committee charged with selecting candidates for the vacant seats acted fully within the law.

Benson said the allegations were nothing more than an attempt to delay justice for the family of Lopez’ victim.

Lopez’ attorneys originally planned to argue before the board that their client’s sentence should be commuted to life without parole because of inadequate legal counsel during his trials and initial appeals.

May 3 , 2012

Us court appeals : pdf file

Update May 2, 2012  Source : http://ktar.com

PHOENIX — Lawyers for an Arizona death-row inmate are fighting his upcoming execution.

Samuel Villegas Lopez’s attorneys argued in one filing Tuesday that three newly appointed clemency board members are unprepared to consider his arguments for mercy.

In another filing Tuesday, they argued that the state Department of Corrections is violating Lopez’s constitutional rights by repeatedly violating its own execution protocol.

Lopez, 49, is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection May 16 in what would be the fourth execution in the state this year.

Lopez was convicted of raping, robbing and stabbing Estafana Holmes, 59, to death in her Phoenix apartment in October 1986, after what court records described as a “terrible and prolonged struggle.”

Petitioner – Appellant,: SAMUEL VILLEGAS LOPEZ
Respondent – Appellee,s: CHARLES L. RYAN and GEORGE HERMAN, Warden, Arizona State Prison – Eyman Complex
Case Number: 12-99001
Filed: May 1, 2012
Court: U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Nature of Suit: P. Petitions – Death Penalty
Previous Case: Lopez, et al v. Stewart, et al (2:1998cv00072)
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