'Let it be done': Murray Hooper, 76, resigns to his fate after hearing execution warrant for Arizona double murder
'Don't cry for me - don't be sad,' Hopper told his lawyers, close friends, and family
FLORENCE, ARIZONA: Murray Hooper, who was found guilty of killing two people in 1980, was executed on November 16—the third person to die in the state since the death penalty was reinstated in May after a nearly eight-year break. Hooper, 76, received a fatal injection at the state prison in Florence for his convictions in the killings of William "Pat" Redmond and his mother-in-law, Helen Phelps.
Authorities claim that a man named Robert Cruz wanted to take over Redmond's printing company and ordered the killings to be done. Marilyn Redmond, who was married to Pat, was also shot in the head but lived to give evidence against Hooper in court. The announcement of Hooper's death was made by Frank Strada, a deputy director for the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation, and Reentry. Throughout his interactions with the execution team, Hooper chuckled multiple times. More than 20 minutes had gone between the time the members of the execution team entered the room and the time the sedative pentobarbital was injected into his right leg and right forearm.
"It's all been said. Let it be done," Hooper stated after the execution warrant was read aloud. "Don't cry for me - don't be sad," he then told his lawyers, close friends, and family. Hooper turned to face the witnesses, who were seated on benches that looked like bleachers in front of the windows. He made eye contact, smiled widely, and waved.
When nothing happened for the first several minutes after the warden read the death warrant, Hooper said, "What are we waiting on?" Hooper's fingers trembled as the medicine started to flow, and he yawned. After then, he remained still. Between the time a warden said the execution would start and the time Hooper was declared dead, around 15 minutes transpired.
Arizona did not carry out the death penalty for over eight years due to concerns that a 2014 execution was mishandled as well as difficulties obtaining execution drugs and due to problems acquiring execution chemicals. Arizona has 110 convicts on death row, but no additional executions are currently scheduled.
Hopper's plea to delay his execution had already been denied by a judge, and the court had previously dismissed two of Hopper's appeals. In one of Hopper's appeals, it was argued that officials had hidden information indicating Marilyn had misidentified him in a photo lineup, but this was dismissed by the Supreme Court without comment.
Authorities claimed that the assertion was false and now maintain that she was not given such a lineup due to an error made by a prosecutor in a letter to the state's clemency board. Later, Marilyn recognized Hooper in a physical lineup. Additionally, the court rejected requests from Hooper's attorneys for DNA and fingerprint analysis of crime scene evidence.
On December 31, 1980, Hooper and two other men allegedly forced entry into the Redmond residence. Pat, Phelps, and Marilyn were the three victims; they were robbed, tied, and gagged. Two further suspects, Edward McCall and William Bracy were also found guilty of the crimes but were never executed because they died before their sentences were handed out.