Robert Towery, Killer About To Be Executed, Wrote Us A Very Nice Letter
|Death row inmate Robert Towery.|
If all goes according to plan, death row inmate Robert Towery will die tomorrow, moments after Arizona authorities inject him with a lethal poison.Towery has been residing on the row at the state prison in Florence for two decades, since being sentenced in the horrific September 1991 Paradise Valley murder of philanthropist Mark Jones.
The robbery/murder (which involved an accomplice who turned state's evidence against Towery in exchange for a reduced sentence) had many distinct similarities to last month's high-profile murders of Lawrence and Glenna Shapiro.
Both cases involved elderly victims who were accosted, beaten, kidnapped, robbed (their cars and other items and money) and eventually killed in their own Paradise Valley homes. The Shapiros, however, were shot to death, and Towery strangled the 69-year-old man to death with a flex-cuff after injecting him ("three or four times" in the arms, according to the cohort) with battery acid.
The battery acid allegation is what the general public from that era remembers most about Towery's crime.
"They had known each other really good in order for the trust to be like that," Towery's accomplice, Randy Allen Barker, told police. "The guy [Jones] was really cool the whole time we was in there."
The duo were caught after someone called Silent Witness. Akin to the current Shapiro case, police found items belonging to Mr. Jones in Towery's possession.
Towery went by the moniker of "Chewie" in those days, and he was a hardcore druggie--methamphetamine was a favorite--with a bad-ass penchant for the strong-arm robbing of people when it suited him.
He knew Mark Jones from when he worked at a car-repair shop, and that was how he talked his way into the older man's home fully intending to rob and probably to kill.
It doesn't get a whole lot worse than that.
Late last year, we contemplated an in-depth story on the recently late-blooming relationship between Robert Towery and his son, a University of Arizona student. Towery had gone off to prison shortly after the young man's birth, and the pair didn't communicate at all for years.
But they did forge a terribly strong bond in the last few years, which included prison visits and letters, and we contacted both men after we learned of the situation, thinking of what used to be known as a "human interest" story--Phoenix New Times-style, that is.