Man executed by lethal injection despite claiming no physical evidence linked him to murders
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A man has been executed by lethal injection despite claiming there was no physical evidence that linked him to the murders of two people in 1980.
Murray Hooper, 76, died as a result of the death penalty in Florence, Arizona, around 10.34am Central Standard Time today after he was found guilty of killing William ‘Pat’ Redmond and his mother-in-law, Helen Phelps.
Authorities found that Hooper, alongside two other men, forced their way into Redmond’s home on 31 December 1980.
The three victims, which also included Redmond’s wife Marilyn, were bound, gagged, robbed and shot in the head by the perpetrators. Mrs Redmond survived the attack.
The two other offenders, William Bracy and Edward McCall, were also convicted of murder, but they died before their death penalties could be performed.
Authorities also stated that Robert Cruz, who was allegedly linked to organised crime, hired the three men to kill Pat Redmond, who co-owned a printing shop.
Authorities stated that the murders Hooper was linked to were carried out at the request of someone who wished to take over Redmond’s business.
Hooper claimed he was innocent and also claimed there was no physical evidence linking him to the murders in 1980, adding that DNA testing would prove who was responsible for their deaths.
His lawyers argued that Hooper was found guilty before online fingerprint systems were developed and before DNA testing was able to be rolled out in criminal cases.
The legal team even requested that the US Supreme Court review his claim that authorities withheld Mrs Redmond’s inability to identify Hooper in a photo lineup.
But authorities responded by saying that this claim was based on a mishap in a prosecutor’s letter to the state’s clemency board, and they now state that the lineup in question was never shown to Mrs Redmond.
Mrs Redmond later managed to identify Hooper in an in-person lineup and even testified against him during his trial.
In a bid to delay the execution, defence lawyers on Hooper’s behalf demanded fingerprint and DNA testing on evidence from the murders, but the court refused.
As per the Arizona Department of Corrections deputy director, Frank Strada, Hooper was executed 34 minutes later than scheduled after difficulties arose with inserting the IVs into him.
Hooper’s execution marks the third death penalty to be carried out in the state of Arizona after a seven-year break.