Robert Comer of Arizona waived his right to appeal his death sentence. Comer, 50, on death row for almost 20 years, is schedule tomorrow to be the first man executed in Arizona since 2000, says the Arizona Republic. His death sentence was imposed for the brutal murder of a Florida man at an Arizona campground in 1987. He also is serving 339 years for rape and kidnapping. Comer refused to attend his 1988 trial for rape, murder and kidnapping.
Comer’s wishes to die forced the courts to review his mental competency. “The idea that someone who accepts responsibility for his crimes is crazy is ludicrous,” said Maricopa County prosecutor Andrew Thomas, a death penalty advocate. “It is a sad but telling commentary on our criminal-justice system that 20 years after Robert Comer committed murder, the only reason he’s going to be executed is because he gave up his endless rights to appeal. This case tells you everything you need to know about what’s wrong with the system.” Some disagree: “We’ve learned over the last few years that the criminal-justice system errs,” said Larry Hammond, a Phoenix attorney and head of the Arizona Justice Project. In March, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that Comer was competent. Last Thursday, the Arizona Supreme Court denied a last-minute motion for stay of execution filed by an anti-death-penalty group.