ARIZONA – Thomas Arnold Kemp – Execution -10:00 a.m – EXECUTED 10:08 am


april 25, source : various

Thomas Kemp, 63, was pronounced dead at 10:08 a.m. local time at the state prison in Florence, about 60 miles southeast of Phoenix, a state official said.

Kemp was defiant to the end.

“I regret nothing,” he said as his last words.

Then he trembled as the drugs coursed through his veins, took some deep breaths and went still.

Kemp’s last meal was cheeseburger, fries and root beer; boysenberry pie with strawberry ice cream

Thomas Arnold Kemp, 63, is scheduled to be given a lethal injection at 10 a.m. at the state prison in Florence. If it proceeds as planned, the execution will put Arizona on pace to match its busiest year for executions and make it one of the busiest death-penalty states in the nation.

He was, and remains, a hard case. At his sentencing, he saidKe his only regret was not killing an accomplice who turned him in. Kemp did admit to “a deep and abiding sense of remorse,” he said, that his friendship kept him from killing the accomplice.

But he had no remorse for killing Hector Juarez, whose naked body he left in the desert near Marana.

At his sentencing, Kemp noted that Juarez was not an American citizen and he offered up a diatribe against Mexican immigrants that made it clear he had no intention of seeking mercy for the killing, telling the court, “I spit on the law and all those who serve it.”

Kemp’s attorney at the time argued that Kemp had a personality disorder that made him perceive everyone else as dishonest and opportunistic, and therefore moved him to do anything he could to get something for himself.

He still refuses to ask for mercy. He chose not to appear before the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency earlier this month.

Kemp was sentenced to death for kidnapping Hector Soto Juarez from outside Juarez’s Tucson home on July 11, 1992, and robbing him before taking him into the desert near Marana, forcing him to undress and shooting him twice in the head.

Juarez, 25, had just left his apartment and fiancee to get food when Kemp and Jeffery Logan spotted him. They held him at gunpoint and used his debit card to withdraw $200 before driving him to the Silverbell Mine area, where Kemp killed Juarez.

The two men then went to Flagstaff, where they kidnapped a married couple traveling from California to Kansas and made them drive to Durango, Colo., where Kemp raped the man in a hotel room. Later, Kemp and Logan forced the couple to drive to Denver, where the couple escaped. Logan soon after separated from Kemp and called police about Juarez’s murder.

Logan led police to Juarez’s body, and Kemp was arrested. Logan was later sentenced to life in prison.

Kemp has argued that his conviction was unfair because then-prosecutor Kenneth Peasley repeatedly told jurors that Kemp’s homosexuality was behind Juarez’s kidnapping and murder, and that the jury hadn’t been properly vetted for their feelings about gay men.

Outside of wishing he had killed Logan when he had the chance, Kemp said at his sentencing that he had no regrets.

“I don’t show any mercy, and I am certainly not here to plead for mercy,” he said at the sentencing, a time when most defendants convicted of first-degree murder argue that they should be spared the death penalty.

“The so-called victim was not an American citizen and, therefore, was beneath my contempt,” Kemp said and then referred to Juarez using a racial slur. “If more of them ended up dead, the rest of them would soon learn to stay in Mexico where they belong.”

Kemp did not respond to a recent letter from The Associated Press asking whether he feels the same way after nearly 20 years on death row.

In a letter written March 29, Kemp said such a hearing “provides public humiliation of the prisoner without any chance that the board might actually recommend a commutation.”

The letter was provided to the AP through Kemp’s Tucson attorney, Tim Gabrielsen.

“In light of the board’s history of consistently denying requests for commutations, my impression is that a hearing in my case would be nothing short of a dog and pony show,” Kemp wrote.

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