Health Pleas Rejected, California Executes Murderer, 76


California executed 76-year-old murderer Clarence Ray Allen at the San Quentin state prison today after the Supreme Court runed down an appeal, the Los Angeles Times reports. Allen was by far the oldest of the 13 convicts executed in the state since California restored the death penalty in 1977, and the second oldest in the nation. California has the nation’s largest death row — 646 inmates — but executes a relatively small number. As a result, the ranks of the condemned grow more elderly, and now include five older than 70, 34 in their 60s and 155 between 50 and 59.

Allen argued that his lengthy time on death row, age, and ill health should have barred his execution; he recently had a heart attack, suffered from diabetes, was legally blind and used a wheelchair. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and several courts rejected those pleas over the last several days. Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals noted that Allen was already 50 years old and incarcerated for another killing when he orchestrated the triple murder for which he got the death penalty in 1982. “His age and experience only sharpened his ability to coldly calculate the execution of the crime,” wrote Wardlaw. “Nothing about his current ailments reduces his culpability.”


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