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U.S. Supreme Court ruling could affect case of Idaho death row inmate Gerald Pizzuto

Here’s a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A U.S. Supreme Court ruling requiring states to look beyond intelligence scores in cases of mental disability to determine whether a death row inmate is eligible for execution could have ramifications for at least one Idaho prisoner, KTVB-TV reports. The justices ruled Tuesday that Florida and a handful of other states, including Idaho, cannot rely solely on an IQ score above 70 to bar an inmate from claiming mental disability. Gerald Pizzuto Jr. has been on Idaho's death row since 1986. He appealed, saying that his IQ was below 70, making it illegal for the state to execute him; Pizzuto's IQ was measured at 72 when he was 29. A score of 70 is widely accepted as a marker of mental disability, but medical professionals say people who score as high as 75 can be considered intellectually disabled because of the test's margin of error. “The ruling is of great constitutional and practical significance,” said Sacramento-based attorney Joan Fisher, Pizzuto's attorney.

KTVB reporter Jamie Grey has a full report here, and a follow-up here with comments from the Idaho Attorney General’s office.

Trib: Whistling A Different Tune

Richard Albert Leavitt was executed by lethal injection Tuesday, 28 years after the murder of Danette Elg of Blackfoot. As reported by the four journalists who witnessed the procedure - from the time Leavitt was escorted into the execution chamber until his death was pronounced at 9:25 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time - the process was solemn, dignified and almost militarily precise. “Six correctional officers, wearing surgical masks and stationed three to a side like pallbearers, lifted the inmate off the gurney and strapped him to the execution table inside the Idaho state prison on Tuesday,” wrote The Associated Press' Rebecca Boone. “They attached intravenous lines to Richard Leavitt's arms and electrodes to the convicted killer's chest and stomach to measure his breathing and heart rate.” Later, Idaho Department of Correction Director Brent Reinke (shown in Greg Kreller Idaho Press Tribune/AP photo) said: “I am grateful that we have four media witnesses here to tell you what they saw. Our goal was to make this as professional as possible with dignity and respect, and I believe we met that mark.” What a stunning reversal/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: So what was hurt by having the media witness the entire execution process involving Richard Albert Leavitt?

What Execution Witnesses Saw

The six correctional officers, wearing surgical masks and stationed three to a side like pallbearers, lifted the inmate off the gurney and strapped him to the execution table inside the Idaho state prison on Tuesday. They attached intravenous lines to Richard Leavitt's arms and electrodes to the convicted killer's chest and stomach to measure his breathing and heart rate. A week ago, no one aside from the prison officials would have seen the state's lethal injection process in its entirety. But a federal judge ordered it open, siding with more than a dozen Idaho news groups, including The Associated Press, who sued in federal court for access. Those first steps — including the insertion of the IV lines that deliver the lethal chemicals — have become increasingly controversial in recent years as opponents question the efficacy of the lethal drug cocktail and the training of the execution team/Rebecca Boone, AP. More here.

Question: No matter how you feel about capital punishment, are you glad Rebecca Boone/AP and 3 other media witnesses were present to watch execution of Richard Leavitt today in Boise?

Execution Carried Out As ‘Prescribed’

Convicted murderer Richard Leavitt was declared dead at 10:25 this morning, executed by lethal injection. State Corrections Director Brent Reinke siad, “The procedures were carried out as prescribed. … The Department of Corrections has fulfilled the obligation that the law requires and that justice demands.” Four media witnesses who observed the execution described it as quiet and precise. “They appeared to be able to insert the IVs in both arms on the first attempt,” said AP reporter Rebecca Boone. KBOI-TV reporter Scott Logan said, “He was asked if he wanted to make a final statement. He just shook his head.” Added Logan, “I was struck by the military precision with which the escort team brought him into the chamber and the way it was carried out. I didn't see anything to suggest any problems”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here. (AP/Idaho Press Tribune photo by Greg Keller: Chuck Skoro, left, and Greg Franz, both of Boise, join a small group of protesters outside the Idaho Department of Corrections in opposition to the execution of Richard Leavitt)

Question: Does the media pay too much attention to protesters at executions?

Leavitt execution completed, ‘procedures carried out as prescribed’

Convicted murderer Richard Leavitt was declared dead at 10:25 this morning, executed by lethal injection. State Corrections Director Brent Reinke said, “The procedures were carried out as prescribed. … The Department of Corrections has fulfilled the obligation that the law requires and that justice demands.”

Four media witnesses who observed the execution described it as quiet and precise. “They appeared to be able to insert the IVs in both arms on the first attempt,” said AP reporter Rebecca Boone. KBOI-TV reporter Scott Logan said, “He was asked if he wanted to make a final statement. He just shook his head.” Added Logan, “I was struck by the military precision with which the escort team brought him into the chamber and the way it was carried out. I didn't see anything to suggest any problems.”

Members of the medical team wore balaclava-style coverings and goggles in addition to surgical garb. Reinke said he was satisfied that their anonymity was protected by those measures. That was an issue the state raised in objecting to allowing witness access to the early phases of the execution, including insertion of IVs; the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which held that the First Amendment requires that representatives of the public be able to view executions in their entirety, ordered the process opened up. Reinke, asked if the big legal fight was necessary given his satisfaction with the open process, said, “In my opinion it was. We learned a lot in this process, and we took the necessary steps to make sure we had a court order before we proceeded.”

Leavitt was executed for the 1984 murder of Danette Elg of Blackfoot. Two of Elg's surviving relatives witnessed the execution; Logan, who sat behind Elg's sister, said in the final moments, as it became clear that Leavitt was dead, she nodded quietly. Leavitt's body will be cremated, and the ashes will be given to his family.

Idaho Executes Richard Leavitt

About a dozen protesters had gathered outside Idaho's prison gates by 9 a.m., to protest the execution this morning of Richard Leavitt. “As citizens of this state, we are appalled that this killing is being done in our name,” Mia Crosthwaite of Idahoans Against the Death Penalty told the group, as they gathered in a circle to pray. More here. (Betsy Russell/Eye On Boise photo)

Update: Richard Leavitt has been executed. Time of death was 10:25 a.m. Tuesday/Statesman

An Idaho man convicted of brutally killing a woman nearly three decades ago and mutilating her body is set to be executed Tuesday, marking the first time witnesses will be allowed to watch the whole process of lethal injection in the state after a challenge by media organizations. Richard Albert Leavitt, who was convicted in 1985 of killing 31-year-old Danette Elg of Blackfoot, is scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection at 10 a.m. MDT Tuesday. Death row inmates in Idaho and nationwide have challenged lethal injection procedures in part by claiming that the insertion of the IVs can be easily botched, resulting in excruciating pain or other problems. But until now, witnesses in Idaho and several other states were barred from watching the first part of the procedure/Rebecca Boone, Statesman. More here.

Thoughts?

Protesters: ‘Appalled that this killing is being done in our name’

About a dozen protesters had gathered outside Idaho's prison gates by 9 a.m., to protest the execution this morning of Richard Leavitt. “As citizens of this state, we are appalled that this killing is being done in our name,” Mia Crosthwaite of Idahoans Against the Death Penalty told the group, as they gathered in a circle to pray. Crosthwaite, who also protested at the November execution of Paul Ezra Rhoades, said she believes that Idahoans will be no safer with Leavitt dead than confined in prison for life. “We believe that killing people by the state of Idaho is wrong,” she said. “It was wrong for the murder to happen. It is wrong for this killing to happen.” She added, “We hope that our governor looks into his heart … and calls and says, 'Stop.'”

Some of the protesters held signs with slogans including, “Execute justice, not people” and “Cruel and unusual punishment.” A half-hour later, the number of protesters had doubled to about 25.

Reinke: ‘This is not a normal day’

“We're here today to carry out the court order,” Idaho state Corrections Director Brent Reinke announced to the press this morning at an early-morning briefing, in advance of the scheduled execution of Richard Leavitt. He said corrections employees have been preparing for today's procedure since the November execution of Paul Ezra Rhoades. “They take no joy in this duty,” Reinke said. “Their actions reflect their deep respect for the rule of law and their commitment to our system of government.”

Asked the attitude of the condemned prisoner, Richard Leavitt, Reinke said, “His is resolved at this point.” Leavitt has had his attorneys with him in his cell. “They were having an open discussion,” Reinke said. Leavitt had the option of having a spiritual adviser accompany him, but he has not requested one. He has received several mild sedatives since his last meal yesterday at 6 p.m.

All Idaho state prisons are on modified lockdown this morning, with inmates confined to living areas. Said Reinke, “This is not a normal day, as you can well imagine. … We want to make sure that we conduct our business with the utmost professionalism.”

Idaho prepares to carry out second execution in seven months this morning

This is the scene inside the media tent at the Idaho state prison complex this morning, where at 10 a.m., the state is scheduled to carry out its second execution in seven months, inside the Idaho Maximum Security Institution. Richard Leavitt is scheduled to  die by lethal injection for the 1984 murder of Danette Elg. Four media witnesses will represent the public; it is the first time witnesses will be allowed to watch the whole process of lethal injection in the state after a legal challenge by media organizations.

Death row inmates in Idaho and nationwide have challenged lethal injection procedures in part by claiming that the insertion of the IVs can be easily botched, resulting in excruciating pain or other problems, the AP reports. But until now, witnesses in Idaho and several other states were barred from watching the first part of the procedure, including the insertion of IVs.

State witnesses who will be present are Ada County Coroner Erwin Sonnenberg; Bingham County Prosecutor Scott Andrew; Bingham County Sheriff Dave Johnson; Mark Warbis, communications director, office of the governor; Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden; and Robin Sandy, chair of the state Board of Correction. The media witnesses are Rebecca Boone, Associated Press; Ruth Brown,  Idaho Falls Post Register; Scott Logan, KBOI-TV; and John Funk, Idaho Press-Tribune.

Idaho has switched its lethal injection procedure to a single drug, a lethal dose of the surgical sedative pentobarbital. Leavitt and three other Death Row inmates had filed a lawsuit challenging the previous three-drug procedure.

U.S. Supreme Court rejects Leavitt’s final appeal

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected condemned Idaho murderer Richard Leavitt's final appeal, clearing the way for his execution, which is scheduled for tomorrow morning at 10. Leavitt received the death sentence for the 1984 mutilation and murder of Danette Elg, 31, of Blackfoot. “Mr. Leavitt is calm and meeting with his attorneys and approved visitors,” Idaho Department of Corrections spokesman Jeff Ray reported today in an email. “At the visitors' request, IDOC is not releasing their names.”

Said Ray, “For his last meal, Mr. Leavitt was given his choice of any item on the IDOC menu. He chose baked chicken, french fries and milk.”

As Leavitt execution draws near, he maintains innocence claim, but courts unconvinced

As tomorrow's scheduled execution of Richard Leavitt draws near, Leavitt has continued to proclaim his innocence, but officials involved with the 28-year-old murder case say they're convinced of his guilt, as are the courts. Leavitt's blood was found at the scene of Danette Elg's murder, and he received stitches at the local emergency room that night for a cut on his hand, which he claimed he'd cut on a fan. He later said his blood was at the scene of the bloody mutilation murder because he'd had a nosebleed there earlier.

Idaho Falls Post Register reporter Ruth Brown offers a look back at the case in an article here; click below for an article from AP reporter Jessie Bonner on the case. A day before her death, Elg called police to report that Leavitt, who had a violent history, had tried to break into her home. Leavitt's attorneys say the condemned murderer has passed a lie detector test saying he didn't stab Elg; he has lost every appeal. A final appeal was filed yesterday to the U.S. Supreme Court; you can read it here.
  

No clemency hearing for Leavitt

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) ― The Idaho Commission of Pardons and Parole says it won't consider a clemency request from condemned inmate Richard Leavitt, who is scheduled to die by lethal injection on June 12. Leavitt was sentenced to death for the 1984 murder of Blackfoot resident Danette Elg. Commission director Olivia Craven says the panel decided late Tuesday to deny Leavitt's request for a commutation hearing. Craven says Leavitt was seeking to have his death sentence changed to life in prison. Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter received the commission's recommendation without comment. Under Idaho law, only the governor has the authority to grant clemency on death penalty cases, but in order for the governor to do so, the parole commission must first consider the request and make a recommendation to the governor.

Idaho Supreme Court upholds death warrant for Richard Leavitt

The Idaho Supreme Court has upheld a death warrant for Richard Leavitt, who is scheduled to be executed June 12 for the 1984 murder of Danette Elg. In a 10-page opinion issued this afternoon, the justices both affirmed the death warrant, and affirmed a district court decision denying a motion to quash that warrant. Leavitt's attorneys charged that the death warrant was improperly issued, and came as Leavitt still had other appeals pending in federal court. “It is important to note that Leavitt received due process prior to the signing of the death warrant,” the justices wrote, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Warren Jones. “He received due process from the numerous appeals, petitions for post-conviction relief, and habeas corpus relief that he filed in this Court and in federal court over the last twenty-seven years. The issuance of the death warrant is a natural consequence from numerous courts affirming his guilt and sentence of death.”

You can read the Idaho Supreme Court's decision here. It was the fourth bid to stay his execution that Leavitt has lost in the past week; arguments are scheduled on another Thursday at the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

Leavitt’s attorneys raise questions of guilt, state says 28 years of litigation is enough

In arguments at the Idaho Supreme Court today, defense attorney David Nevin contended there are questions about condemned murderer Richard Leavitt's guilt that have yet to be explored in court. But Deputy Attorney General LaMont Anderson told the justices, “We've been at this case now for 28 years.”

Justices peppered Nevin with questions about whether his interpretation of court rules would allow endless appeals to head off any execution. He countered, “We are not in the business of frivolous appeals here. There's a serious and significant issue as to guilt pending in the federal court.” Justice Jim Jones, a former Idaho attorney general, recused himself from the case; sitting in as a justice pro tem was retired Chief Justice Gerald Schroeder.

Late Thursday, the justices dismissed a major filing by Leavitt's attorneys, a petition to vacate the death warrant and conduct a new hearing. Then on Friday, U.S. District Judge Lynn Winmill dismissed a bid to stay the execution on the basis that a March U.S. Supreme Court decision cleared the way for consideration of Leavitt's earlier claim of ineffective counsel, with regard to testing of blood from the crime scene. Nevin immediately appealed that decision to the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which will hear arguments on it Thursday.

Today, U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge dismissed the portion of a lawsuit challenging Idaho's lethal-injection execution procedure that involves Leavitt, declining to issue a stay of execution, but leaving the case active for three other Death Row inmates. Leavitt is scheduled to die June 12 for the 1984 murder and mutilation of Danette Elg in eastern Idaho; you can read my full story here at spokesman.com on how he's lost three bids to stay his execution in the past five days.
  

Judge Rules Against Condemned Man

U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge has dismissed the portion of a lawsuit challenging Idaho's lethal-injection execution procedure that involves Richard Leavitt, who is scheduled to be executed on June 12. Lodge wrote in his 55-page decision and order today that he would allow more time for briefing in the case of the three other condemned prisoners who sued, Thomas Creech, James Hairston and Gene Stuart, but expedited Leavitt's portion because of his pending execution date. The gist of the lawsuit challenged the state's three-drug lethal injection procedure, charging that if the earlier drug to inflict unconsciousness failed, the condemned inmate would suffer severe and excruciating pain when the later, lethal drug took effect. Since then, Idaho has announced it will use a single-drug lethal injection procedure - exactly what Leavitt sought in the lawsuit - so those points were ruled moot/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Thoughts?

Leavitt loses two bids to stay June 12 execution; more arguments today

U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge has dismissed the portion of a lawsuit challenging Idaho's lethal-injection execution procedure that involves Richard Leavitt, who is scheduled to be executed on June 12. Lodge wrote in his 55-page decision and order today that he would allow more time for briefing in the case of the three other condemned prisoners who sued, Thomas Creech, James Hairston and Gene Stuart, but expedited Leavitt's portion because of his pending execution date.

The gist of the lawsuit challenged the state's three-drug lethal injection procedure, charging that if the earlier drug to inflict unconsciousness failed, the condemned inmate would suffer severe and excruciating pain when the later, lethal drug took effect. Since then, Idaho has announced it will use a single-drug lethal injection procedure - exactly what Leavitt sought in the lawsuit - so those points were ruled moot. Leavitt also raised several other issues, but the judge found them not sufficient to warrant a stay of execution. Among them: He challenged the experience level of the people assigned to administer the lethal drugs through IVs, but state prison officials said the least-experienced member of the team has 15 years of relevant medical experience.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge Lynn Winmill dismissed another bid from Leavitt to stay his execution on the basis of ineffective assistance of counsel, tied to a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision; Leavitt's attorney, David Nevin, immediately filed an appeal of that decision to the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. This afternoon, the Idaho Supreme Court will hear arguments on remaining issues raised in state court by Leavitt's defense as his execution date approaches.

Idaho Supreme Court sets arguments for Monday in Leavitt case

The Idaho Supreme Court has set oral arguments for Monday at 3 p.m. on a series of last-minute issues raised by condemned murderer Richard Leavitt, who is scheduled to be executed June 12. Late yesterday, the high court dismissed a major filing by Leavitt's attorneys, a petition to vacate the death warrant and conduct a new hearing. The remaining issues, including a notice of appeal first filed May 21 in Bingham County, will be argued on Monday.

The Supreme Court has posted a link here on its website to all the last-minute filings in the capital murder case, which also include federal court filings; you can read its Thursday order here. Leavitt's death warrant was issued May 17 for the July 1984 murder and mutilation of Danette Elg in Blackfoot; his final appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was rejected on May 14. Idaho completed its first execution in 17 years in November, putting triple murderer Paul Ezra Rhoades to death by lethal injection.
  

Death Row inmates challenge Idaho’s execution procedures

Four Death Row inmates have filed a federal lawsuit over Idaho's new execution procedures, asking a judge to stop all executions until problems in the procedures are addressed. The move comes as Idaho's next execution nears; Richard Leavitt, an eastern Idaho murderer convicted in 1984, is nearing the end of his appeals. In November, Idaho carried out its first execution in 17 years, executing triple murderer Paul Rhoades by lethal injection; it was the state's first execution since 1994 and only its second since 1957.

The four inmates, who include Leavitt along with Thomas Creech, James Hairston and Gene Stuart, contend the new procedures adopted earlier this year give too much power to prison officials, create a risk of severe pain and would allow unqualified workers to carry out medical procedures. Click below for a full report from AP reporter Rebecca Boone.

Rhoades’ Execution Price Tag: $53K

The Nov. 18 execution of Paul Ezra Rhoades cost the Idaho Department of Correction $53,411, the department said. Of the total, $25,583 went to employee overtime and $27,828 went to operating costs. IDOC Director Brent Reinke says when his department began preparing for the execution, it made a commitment to carry out the assignment with professionalism, respect and dignity for all involved. “We believe we met those standards while at the same time being careful stewards of taxpayer dollars,” Reinke said. Operating expenses included medical supplies, equipment rentals and meals/Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Worth the cost?

Oregon Guv Won’t Allow Execution

Gov. John Kitzhaber (pictured) announced today he will not allow the execution of Gary Haugen — or any death row inmateto take place while he is in office. The death penalty is morally wrong and unjustly administered, Kitzhaber said. “In my mind it is a perversion of justice,” he said at an emotional news conference in Salem. The governor cited his constitutional authority to grant a temporary reprieve for Haugen, in effect canceling the planned Dec. 6 lethal injection of the twice-convicted murderer. Haugen waived his legal appeals and has been preparing for the execution, which would have been Oregon's first in 14 years/Helen Jung, Oregonian. More here. (AP photo)

Thoughts?

Henry: Not Missing Paul Ezra Rhoades

For weeks, photos of Idaho's new execution chamber, along with sordid details of how lethal injection is carried out, have circulated on the Web. I've learned quite a bit about how last-minute appeals are filed, how the first of three injections renders the condemned unconscious so they don't feel the next two fatal shots that stop their breathing and heartbeat. The whole process is very clinical, very sterile and, providing nothing goes awry, painless for the condemned. The whole ordeal has also made me revisit my stance on capital punishment. I was raised in my faith that although God is the ultimate judge and will have the final ruling, society has a duty to carry out punishments for the good of greater society. As I've gotten older and explored my faith further, I realize there are basic tenets of human decency that one must adhere to. When you commit a crime contrary to the core of those tenets, you forfeit your place in society/Henry Johnston, Moscow-Pullman Daily News. More here.

Question: Did Idaho's execution of Paul Ezra Rhoades cause you to revisit your stance on capital punishment?

An Eyewitness To An Execution

Nate Green, a reporter for the Idaho Press Tribune of Nampa, was one of four media witnesses Friday morning to the execution of Paul Ezra Rhoades in the Idaho Penitentiary in Boise. He gives a detailed account of his Friday morning beginning at 3:30 a.m. You can read the detailed chronology here. He describes his first sight of Rhoades here:

8:46 a.m. Rhoades wears thick glasses and has a jutting chin. He blinks rapidly and twists his lips. He twists his head to the right and looks toward his mother, who sits in a private room separated from the witnesses, and appears to mouth the words, “I love you.” He looks upward at an overhead light and a video camera in the ceiling, then he twists his head and glances toward the witness room. His eyes alight on each person in the room, and he looks back to the ceiling.

Question: Do you expect more executions in Idaho within the next 2-3 years?

PM: Paradis, Rhoades ‘Best Friends’

In this 2001 AP file photo, an emotional Donald Manuel Paradis is led by his lawyer Bill Mauk, left, out of the Kootenai County courthouse where a judge accepted a guilty plea to a lesser charge and set Paradis free. Paradis, once condemned to die for the 1980 murder of Kimberly Palmer, said he was best friends with Paul Ezra Rhoades and lamented Rhoades' execution today. Story here. (SR photo: Jesse Tinsley)

Otter: ‘Rhoades has been held accountable’

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter issued this statement today on the execution of Paul Rhoades, Idaho's first execution in 17 years:

“My thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their loved ones, the mother of Paul Ezra Rhoades and everyone who has been impacted by these crimes. Mr. Rhoades took full and unfettered advantage of his right to due process of law for more than 20 years. That process has run its course and Mr. Rhoades has been held accountable for his actions. The State of Idaho has done its best to fulfill this most solemn responsibility with respect, professionalism and most of all dignity for everyone involved.”
  

Hucks Poll: Full Access To Executions

  • Thursday Poll: On a narrow vow, Hucks Nation supported giving the Idaho media full access to the execution process. 53 of 104 respondents (50.96%) said the media should have full access to executions, not just the final steps when the condemned is in the execution chamber. 50 of 104 respondents (48.08%) said the media shouldn't have full access. One person was undecided.
  • Weekend Poll: Do you support a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution?

Editor: Executions Not Easy To Cover

Executions are not easy task for the media. But it's our responsibility and we take it seriously. Our own reporter, Idaho Press-Tribune's Nate Green, was one of the witnesses. We'll have stories online a bit later. We also had photographer Charlie Litchfield and reporter John Funk at the site. I appreciate the difficult assignment they had today/Vickie Schaffeld Holbrook, Idaho Press Tribune editor, via Facebook.

Question: Would you accept an assignment to cover an execution if you were a news reporter?

Idaho Executes Paul Ezra Rhoades

Idaho prison officials executed Paul Ezra Rhoades on Friday for his role in the 1987 murders of two women, marking the state's first execution in 17 years. Rhoades, 54, was declared dead at 9:15 a.m. at the Idaho Maximum Security Institution after being administered three separate drugs that make up the state's new lethal injection protocol. The execution had been scheduled for 8 a.m. but was delayed by over an hour because of a review of a motion filed late Thursday in 4th District Court. Idaho Department of Correction spokesman Jeff Ray declined to provide details of the late legal filing/Rebecca Boone, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Thoughts?

Prosecutor: ‘Nothing brings total justice’

Tom Moss, who prosecuted Paul Ezra Rhoades in 1987 and later served as U.S. attorney for Idaho, said after this morning's execution, “Nothing brings total justice. They don't get their loved ones back. But it brings some satisfaction to them.” He said, “I've often said I don't think I will live to see anybody executed. So there's a certain amount of closure to see one of 'em get executed. … There is satisfaction to see finally the law comes to its conclusion, it's done. These families don't have to read any more in the paper about there's something going on with Paul Rhoades. … This case is closed.”

Rhoades, in final words, takes responsibility for one murder, not other two

The media witnesses to Paul Ezra Rhoades' execution are now answering questions from other reporters about what they witnessed. “Perhaps the most noteworthy thing was Mr. Rhoades' final statement,” said AP reporter Rebecca Boone. “He apologized for the Michelbacher murder, but did not take responsibility for the other two murders.” Boone said Rhoades said to the families of his other two victims, “I can't help you guys, sorry.” She said, “He said, 'Mom, goodbye,' then he turned and faced the warden, Randy Blades, and said, 'You guys, I forgive you, I really do.'”

ABC Channel 6 reporter Mac King said, “The whole thing was incredibly sterile, with the exception of his statement. Everyone was really professional.” King said there were “some tears” from the victims' families.

Nate Green, reporter for the Idaho Press-Tribune, said, “It was very quiet and somber, it was silent throughout. One gentleman, apparently a friend of the Michelbacher family, said the devil had gone home.”

Execution delay was due to ‘unexpected’ motion for stay from outside lawyer

Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said the last-minute delay in the execution of Paul Ezra Rhoades this morning was prompted by a motion for a stay filed at 3 a.m. by an attorney from Mountain Home who had never previously represented Rhoades, and who didn't purport to be representing him now. “At about 8 o'clock this morning, 8:11, I believe … the administrative district judge in Ada County issued a denial of that stay,” Wasden said. The motion for stay charged that Rhoades' attorneys weren't properly qualified; they were appointed by the federal court to represent him in the capital case.

“I would say it was somewhat unexpected,” Wasden said.