Death Row inmate withdraws execution request citing concerns
| Last updated
Featured Image Credit: Arizona Department of Corrections / felipe caparros cruz / Alamy Stock Photo
Arizona Supreme Court is set to debate a man's request to retract his application to be executed.
On 25 November, 2022, Aaron Gunches filed a request to the state supreme court to be executed as soon as possible.
However, the 51-year-old has since changed his mind about being executed sooner and has filed a motion to retract his request.
In 2010, Gunches was sentenced to death for the kidnap and murder of Ted Price in December 2002. The incident kicked off at Price's ex-girlfriend, Katherine Lecher's, house - who Gunches was dating at the time.
After being arrested in January, 2003, Gunches represented himself and pleaded guilty to kidnapping and first degree murder. He appealed his sentence multiple times, however, each one of his appeals was denied.
Despite already being sentenced to death, Gunches filed a motion in November, 2022 to be executed sooner 'so that justice may be lawfully served and give closure to the victim's family'.
If the motion is approved, the execution will be carried out in 35 days.
However, Gunches has since filed to have his request for execution withdrawn.
In his letter to the state supreme court, Gunches cites the 'three recent botched executions of Dixon, Atwood and Hooper' as being part of the reason why he wants to retract his motion.
Gunches claims the execution of Murray Hooper was carried out by an execution team who 'style themselves as medical professionals' and accused a member of the 'uncertified' team as having 'inadequate training in IV insertion' leading to two prisoners ending up suffering.
Gunches also alleges the execution team 'actually forgot to bring the anaesthetic to the execution' which led to Hooper 'grimacing in pain'.
The letter - submitted on 4 January, 2023 - continues: "The ADC staff on the execution team are not medical professionals, nor are they certified for IV insertion, nor are they capable of performing surgery. Plain and simple: This was torture."
In the letter, Gunches also refers to a comment made by Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes in October: "We need to take some time to assess how the death penalty has worked, and make sure that this is done legally and correctly."
Gunches continued: "Aaron Gunches does not want to be tortured before he is executed and asks this court to withdraw his motion with leave to file at a later date, after AG Mayes insures executions can be done in a proper manner.
"For the Arizona Supreme Court to issue an execution warrant under the current conditions amounts to court ordered cruel and unusual punishment, which simply cannot be allowed."
Gunches resolved he would never have requested to be executed in the first place had he known the 'stunning news' surrounding the three previous executions.
Gunches' motion will be addressed by the court after the State responds, a spokesperson for Arizona State Court told AZ Central.
Arizona State Court is set to discuss Gunches' case on 31 January.
The spokesperson concluded: "The state does not intend to oppose Mr Gunches' motion to withdraw. We will weigh all options and make a decision about moving forward before then."
Topics: News, True crime, US News, Crime