Nearly 20 Percent of Arizona's Condemned Inmates Have Been Sitting on Death Row for at Least 20 Years -- on the Taxpayers' Dime

Categories: Death Row
Huffington Post
Don't murder anyone in Arizona, or there's a good chance you'll end up here...20 years later.
Kid-killing child molester Richard Bible was executed this morning after sitting on death row -- on taxpayers' dime -- for more than 20 years.

But Bible's not the only convicted murderer who's called death row home for more than two decades. In fact, we crunched the numbers and found that nearly 20 percent (24 out 130) Arizona death-row inmates have spent at least 20 years waiting to die.

See the Department of Corrections' list of death row inmates here.

One inmate in particular, Robert Moorman, has been on death row for 26 years. He's been in prison since 1972, though, for a kidnapping in Coconino County.

About 13 years into his sentence for the kidnapping, Moorman was granted a 72-hour "compassionate furlough" from the Florence Prison so he could spend time with his mother.

Robert Moorman
The two reportedly stayed at the Blue Mist Motel across the street from the prison, where Moorman bound and gagged his own mother before strangling and fatally stabbing her. Then he chopped her body up into several pieces and disposed of it in dumpsters throughout Florence. Twenty-six years later, Moorman hasn't been executed.

According to the DOC's 2010 Operating Per Capita Cost Report, it costs taxpayers $66.90 a day ($24,418 a year) to house, feed, and care for a single inmate in the Browning Unit of the Eyman Prison, where death-row inmates are housed. That's about $6 more than the $60.59 average for all units in the prison system.

Multiply $24,418 by the 24 inmates who've spent more than 20 years on death row, and you'll see that Arizona spent $586,032 last year alone to house convicted murderers who've spent more than two decades waiting to be executed.

Again, that's last year alone -- and it's only about 20 percent of the Death Row population. When you look at all of death row, Arizona taxpayers spent $3,174,405 on cell space for convicted murderers last year as they attempt to cheat court-ordered executions.

Following Bible's execution this morning, Attorney General Tom Horne issued a statement saying, "The delay of over 20 years in carrying out Bible's execution highlights the need to reform the death penalty process."

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Society has failed as a fact when we spend more on incarceration then on education.


There is really something wrong with this picture.   Thanks for disclosing the costs.  I have to wonder where the "justice" is when a person who murdered my sister in 1978 is still sitting in prison (now death row), costing us $24K a year, and my son, with a college degree from 2 years ago is making less than that working at a large chain store because of how the economy is.  When there is irrefutable evidence of DNA matches, a conviction and sentence, then if we are going to have the death penalty, it should be carried out expeditiously. 


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Concerned Citizen/Taxpayer
Concerned Citizen/Taxpayer

The the taxpayers should be demanding is to know how many non-violent, first offenders are sitting in Arizona's prisons for decades under Arizona's outdated, draconian mandatory minimum Sentencing laws -- a scheme to build more prisons to take down Arizona's people. One individual is serving 75 years for first offense, non-violent, non-sexual touching in a swimming pool alleged incident!  Calculate the cost on that one case and multiply it out. These cases are covered up and not available to the public in the Superior Court docket -- why??

Walter Concrete
Walter Concrete

Who cares?    Do we have control of how our "money" is spent?     Nope.    Never have.    Much more money goes into the pockets of CEO's and hedge fund managers from the free give aways of our money than is used to house those on death row.    It's a pointless arguement.


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well, society has failed when it makes idiotic laws. Banning certain plants, for instance.


But for every person freed because of DNA, there are many more who have been convicted because of DNA, and when there is no doubt, the sentence should be carried out swiftly.


then when you factor in the fact that endless appeals on death penalty cases costs millions for each case, when life in prison costs much less. ... depending on teh state it costs between 20-40K/yr to feed/clothe a prisoner.

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