Murray Hooper: Arizona double murderer's bid to avoid death penalty denied, set to be executed on Nov 16

Murray Hooper, 76, was one of three men convicted of murdering Patrick Redmond and his mother-in-law, Helen Phelps, as they prepared for a New Year's Eve celebration in Phoenix in 1980

Murray Hooper: Arizona double murderer's bid to avoid death penalty denied, set to be executed on Nov 16
Murray Hooper will be the third to be executed since Arizona resumed the death penalty this year (ABC15/video screenshot)
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PHOENIX, ARIZONA: The Arizona Board of Executive Clemency refused death row inmate Murray Hooper's request for compassion on Thursday, November 3. According to state attorneys, Hooper, 76, had several opportunities to litigate the problems he raised before the Board, however, none of those courts were receptive to his pleadings. Hooper, will be executed on November 16 for the 1980 double murder case. It will be the third execution since Arizona resumed the death penalty this year.

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Hooper was one of three men convicted of murdering Patrick Redmond and his mother-in-law, Helen Phelps, as they prepared for a New Year's Eve celebration in Phoenix in 1980, as per reported by az central. Kirsten Valenzuela, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office Capital Litigation Bureau Chief, said, "Murray Hooper is not an innocent man. His convictions are just and true."

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Valenzuela added, "The reason we are here today is because of the choices that Murray Hooper has made, again and again, culminating with the New Year's Eve executions of Pat Redmond and Helen Phelps."

Hooper's defense team spent the day showing how the criminal justice system failed him and how a troublesome cast of characters bought and bribed by the state falsely accused him of murder. Hooper's lawyers further told the board how Chicago police battered and tortured him before arranging a lineup in which they convinced witnesses that Hooper was the suspect in the murders. Assistant Federal Public Defender Nicole List stated that the Board "cannot and should not" have faith in a death sentence. "We are here today to seek justice for Murray Hooper, who has been on death row for 40 years, for a crime that he did not commit," List said. "Understanding how we got here requires that we present and talk about difficult topics such as systemic racism, corrupt police officers, police brutality, prosecutorial misconduct, and the idea that eyewitnesses are not always as reliable as we would like them to be." An expert from Hooper's team discussed how witness evidence from traumatic events might be erroneous. They called key eyewitness testimony of Marilyn Redmond, who survived the New Year's Eve carnage as "unreliable."

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Hooper's team had requested that the death sentence be changed to life in prison without parole, or that the death sentence be put on halt in order to seek fingerprint and DNA evidence testing. The Board, however, denied both requests after a five-hour hearing. Board chair Mina Mendez described the deaths as "a truly horrific crime" in explaining her decision. 

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Mendez reported that Redmond's children wrote the Board requesting that no clemency be granted on their behalf. “The entire family was tremendously and significantly impacted by this event," Mendez said. "It's very obvious that this crime continues to haunt them and they continue to suffer even 40 years later." 

“Mr. Hooper's claims of innocence are in the face of overwhelming or at least compelling evidence," board member Louis Quinonez said. He claimed that Hooper had not provided the board with a statement indicating any efforts to change his way of life, which he described as "clearly violent and criminal." Quinonez said, "I do not find that the sentence was excessive based on the nature of the offense." 

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