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Arizona Moves to Vacate Wood Stay

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The State of Arizona has filed in the U.S. Supreme Court an application to vacate the stay of execution of murderer Joseph Wood, noted yesterday.  The case is Ryan v. Wood, 14A82.

The Ninth Circuit has a very helpful collection of the pleadings in this case.  The Supreme Court papers are in green.  The administrative folks at the Ninth really do an excellent job.  Now if we could only do something about the substance of the opinions . . .

Lest we forget what this case is about:
Debra [Dietz] and [her father] Eugene [Dietz] drove together to work at [their] shop early on Monday morning, August 7, 1989. Defendant phoned the shop three times that morning. Debra hung up on him once, and Eugene hung up on him twice. Defendant called again and asked another employee if Debra and Eugene were at the shop. The employee said that they had temporarily left but would return soon. Debra and Eugene came back at 8:30 a.m. and began working in different areas of the shop. Six other employees were also present that morning.

At 8:50 a.m., a Tucson Police officer saw Defendant driving in a suspicious manner near the shop. The officer slowed her patrol car and made eye contact with Defendant as he left his truck and entered the shop. Eugene was on the telephone in an area where three other employees were working. Defendant waited for Eugene to hang up, drew a revolver, and approached to within four feet of him. The other employees shouted for Defendant to put the gun away. Without saying a word, Defendant fatally shot Eugene once in the chest and then smiled. When the police officer saw this from her patrol car she immediately called for more officers. Defendant left the shop, but quickly returned and again pointed his revolver at the now supine Eugene. Donald Dietz, an employee and Eugene's seventy-year-old brother, struggled with Defendant, who then ran to the area where Debra had been working.

Debra had apparently heard an employee shout that her father had been shot and was trying to telephone for help when Defendant grabbed her around the neck from behind and placed his revolver directly against her chest. Debra struggled and screamed, "No, Joe, don't!" Another employee heard Defendant say, "I told you I was going to do it, I have to kill you." Defendant then called Debra a "bitch" and shot her twice in the chest.

Several police officers were already on the scene when Defendant left the shop after shooting Debra. Two officers ordered him to put his hands up. Defendant complied and dropped his weapon, but then grabbed it and began raising it toward the officers. After again ordering Defendant to raise his hands, the officers shot Defendant several times.

State v. Wood, 180 Ariz. 53, 60-61, 881 P.2d 1158, 1165-1166 (1994).

Note the date.  The Arizona Supreme Court affirmed this case on direct appeal 20 years ago.  Absent a claim of actual innocence, and obviously there is none here, there is no excuse for a case being tied up in reviews that long.

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