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.
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.