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Fog lifts, preparations under way…

Idaho state Corrections Director Brent Reinke will brief reporters momentarily on the preparations for this morning's execution of Paul Ezra Rhoades. The fog has lifted over the prison complex, and it's clear, cold, and 32 degrees. Click below for an AP report on the final preparations.


Final preparations for Rhoades execution under way
By REBECCA BOONE, Associated Press


BOISE, Idaho (AP) — State and prison officials are gathering at the Idaho Maximum Security Institution to make final preparations for the execution of Paul Ezra Rhoades.

Rhoades is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection Friday at 8 a.m. Barring any last-minute intervention by the courts or state leaders, he will be the first person executed in Idaho since 1994 and the only person to be involuntarily put to death in the state since 1957.

Rhoades, 54, was sentenced to death for the 1987 kidnapping and murders of 34-year-old Susan Michelbacher and 21-year-old Stacy Dawn Baldwin. He was also sentenced to life in prison without parole for the 1987 murder of 20-year-old Nolan Haddon.

Rhoades admitted committing the murders but has vigorously appealed his convictions and Idaho's execution protocol, saying the lethal injection procedure is likely to be botched, causing him excruciating pain.

Idaho Department of Correction officials said Rhoades spent much of the last week visiting with his mother, Pauline Rhoades, his spiritual adviser and his attorney as his last-ditch appeals worked their way through the courts.

The U.S. Supreme Court late Thursday denied Rhoades' request for a stay of execution.

Rhoades was talkative with the guards who were monitoring him, said Correction Department spokesman Jeff Ray, and he spent time watching television, reading and doing artwork.

His last hours at the prison south of Boise called for a meal off the prison menu: hot dogs, sauerkraut and condiments, baked beans, veggie sticks and dressing, fruit gelatin and strawberry ice cream. The meal was to be delivered to his isolation cell by 7 p.m. Thursday, and family members could stay and visit until 8:30 p.m.

Phone calls were to end by 9 p.m., under the prison guidelines, and his attorney and spiritual adviser were to be allowed to stay with him until 6 a.m. if Rhoades wanted.

Rhoades was also to be offered a mild sedative at 11 p.m., a light snack of cheese and crackers no later than 3 a.m., and another sedative at 4 a.m.

Ray said Rhoades, who is diabetic, was in fair health during his final days, though he was anxious about the coming execution.

The department planned to cremate Rhoades' body after the execution and give the remains to his attorney, Oliver Loewy.


Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.


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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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