Thomas Paul West, Condemned Inmate on Death Row for Nearly 23 Years, Begs for Mercy Before Tuesday Execution

Categories: Death Row
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Arizona Department of Corrections
Thomas Paul West
Thomas Paul West, 52, has been on death row since the Reagan administration. He's scheduled to be put to death on Tuesday, but is now seeking the same last-minute appeals many condemned inmates seek before their state-ordered date with death.

West is scheduled to appear before the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency today at the state prison in Florence, where he is expected to beg for mercy and request that his sentence be reduced to life in prison.

According to the Associated Press, West probably will argue that sexual abuse as a child by three different men changed his life forever, and caused his post-traumatic stress disorder.

West was convicted of the 1987 murder of Donald Bortle.

West beat the man to death while robbing his Tucson home. Bortle's body was found decomposing in a closet, covered in blood, and with his hands tied behind his back.

West is part of the nearly 20 percent of Arizona's condemned inmates who've been on Death Row for over 20 years.

We crunched the numbers earlier this year following the execution of kid-killing rapist Richard Bible, and 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.
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10 comments
bigriggs
bigriggs

He should have been taken care of years ago...

Johnny Skee Mask
Johnny Skee Mask

So in other words, the private prison system responsible for holding condemned inmates are making big bucks by keeping them on Death Row for 20 some years, at tax payers expense?

Sounds like a lucrative business scheme to me. Technically, they are making lots of moolah off of the condemned.

Ross
Ross

The death penalty always takes two lives.  It kills one murderer, but uses up 5% of the working lives of 20 lawyers, judges, court and prison personnel.  The real waste is the unproductive time that the system spends on the cause.

Gonzo di Dottore
Gonzo di Dottore

"as they attempt to cheat court-ordered executions."

Put down the kool aid.  They are entitled to due process, and to exhaust their rights, just as you would be in that situation.

If this is REALLY about the money, rather than the agenda of promotiong executions with Rick Perry speed, try comparing the cost of incarceration vs the cost of the exercise of all those pesky rights to avoid the needle.  I think you'll find that life sentences are cheaper on everybody.  But, that wouldn't fit the narrative, would it?

shadeaux14
shadeaux14

Or the blood lust of the CHRISTIAN conservative.

Luvlife_is2bfree
Luvlife_is2bfree

Dr. Gonzo, you are such an idiot. Shut the F*** up..."put the Kool Aid Down" I think the author of this article as absolutely correct. That scum bag Richard Bible killed MY friend Jennifer Wilson over 20 YEARS AGO! He raped her, blugeoned her and that sick disgusting person was allowed to use my tax dollars to prolong his pathetic life because @ the end of the day he was just a big fat p***y as I think you are to think he deserved mercy after brutally murdering that little girl. Due process my butt. Hey get a clue and stop being so damn ignorant. Jennifer should be my age today with a family of her own, we should have grown up together and had memories of our lives and that of our families. The only memory I have of her is my mother & father coming home to tell me she was murdered.

nuzazona
nuzazona

Ask Ray Krone if he is glad that he had due process.

Gonzo di Dottore
Gonzo di Dottore

Sorry for your loss.  Still, we have rights.  All of us.  Even scumbag inmates.  My issue with the author isn't a referendum on capital punishment or whether this guy's death is some measure of justice for his crimes.  My issue with the author was his skewed analysis of the economics of keeping death row inmates alive while their lawful efforts to revisit an irreversible sentence (once carried out) are considered.  Maybe if he were also less judgmental and wrote "as they attempt to [delay, reverse, avoid] court-ordered executions" rather than "cheat" you and i wouldn't have to have this conversation.

Luvlife_is2bfree
Luvlife_is2bfree

Thank you for clarifying. I mean nothing to you individually. I am just upset over our judicial system re: sickos like Bible. His execution was just recently and it struck a raw nerve that justice wasn't served until so many years later. Im not as "shadeaux14" suggests a blood lust chistian conservative. I plain just believe in an eye for eye. That may strike a nerve with many but I don't care I miss my friend.

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