Pleas for clemency, even from Bishop Jerry Kicanas of the Diocese of Tucson, were not successful in preventing the execution of death row inmate Thomas West.
According to reports, West was executed this morning for the 1987 murder of Donald Bortle in a trailer near Tucson. West reportedly skipped his last meal Monday night and calmly met with his lawyers this morning before his execution.
"When the curtains opened, he gestured to his lawyers - some of the execution's witnesses thought he was flashing a peace sign.
He had no last words. As the warden read the death warrant, West closed his eyes and never reopened them.
After the execution began at 11:01 a.m., West let out several snoring breaths.
He was pronounced dead at 11:10 a.m."
In a video plea, Kicanas asked the Board of Executive Clemency and Gov. Jan Brewer to allow West to serve a life sentence.
"He needs to be punished. And my sense is that a life punishment would make all the sense in the world," Kicanas said. "To take his life will accomplish little or nothing, especially in this instance when he did not go into that house intent on killing Mr. Bortle. Since there has been such a long history for this young man in the kind of trauma that has been experienced, I hope that you will consider commuting the death penalty to a life sentence."