Arizona was scheduled to execute a mentally retarded man last night.
Ramon Martinez-Villareal, found guilty for the 1982 shooting death of two men, was scheduled to die by lethal injection in the wee hours of May 21.
A Mexican citizen, Martinez-Villareal suffers from mental retardation and severe mental illness, a fact that his attorneys and the Mexican government have emphasized in their attempts to halt the execution.
In an affidavit submitted to the Clemency Board last Thursday, La Paz County Attorney Bruce Stirling admitted that if he had known about Martinez-Villareal's mental retardation, he wouldn't have sought the death penalty.
Trial judge Roberto Montiel, meanwhile, testified that had Martinez-Villareal's defense attorney entered evidence of the defendant's mental problems, he wouldn't have sentenced Martinez-Villareal to death.
"Under these circumstances, do you think it's fair to execute Mr. Martinez?" asked Martinez-Villareal's attorney, Jose Cardenas, at the hearing.
"No," Judge Montiel answered.
As of Monday, Cardenas was still trying frantically to impress that fact on anyone who would listen.
"Every judge who has expressed an opinion on the issue has said that Mr. Martinez should not be executed: Superior Court Judge Roberto Montiel, Federal District Court Judge Richard Bilby, the Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court Justice Zlaket, and Associate Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court Justice Feldman," says Cardenas.
Death Wish List
On the lighter side of capital punishment, The Flash has obtained the Arizona Department of Corrections' "Execution by Lethal Injection Operations Checklist."
According to the mind-bending, 11-plus-hour schedule, Arizona's executioners are busy little bees on game days. Here for your reading pleasure are all 38 steps. (The Flash's analyses are in italics.)
1400--Drugs picked up from ASPC-F Pharmacy by the Special Operations Team Leader. (Drugs obtained from Lefty in C-Block.)
1430--Final complete inventory of equipment and materials conducted by the Operations Team Leader and designated medical staff member using "Equipment and Materials Checklist: Execution by Lethal Injection." (Aren't we checklist-happy?)
1600--All inventoried equipment and materials, including the drugs, are secured in the equipment area adjacent to the execution chamber. (The Aryan Brotherhood is watching.)
2100--Consultants arrive. ("Ding-dong. Killers calling.")
2105--The drug box is delivered to the Senior Warden. (Junior Warden gets the seeds and stems.)
2110--Senior Warden delivers the drug box to the consultant. (Consultant makes sure drugs have not been cut with any impure substances, such as penicillin.)
2200--Special Operations Restraint Team reports to the Special Operations Team Leader in the execution building security area. Call to the Governor by Senior Warden/Director. (In case the governor is at a criminal trial, George Leckie will give the green light.)
2205--Doctor arrives. (Reminds everyone that lethal injection is fatal.)
2230--Final briefing with the Special Operations Restraint Team by the Special Operations Team Leader. (Subject of motivational presentation: "What makes us 'Special'?")
2300--Senior Warden gives signal to proceed. (A finger across the throat or the trusty thumbs down.)
2305--Special Operations Restraint Team removes inmate from cell, strip-searches him and escorts him to the execution chamber. (No indignity spared.)
2305--Inmate asked by Director for last words. ("Mind if I strip-search you?")
2330--Restraint is completed. Team exits chamber. (Wax nostalgic for "Old Sparky.")
2330-2355--Consultants insert IVs; heart monitor leads are positioned. (Consultants discuss changing titles to Expiration Facilitators.)
2355--Witnesses are admitted in accordance with ASPC-F IMP 500. (Absolutely no coupons.)
0002--Medical Examiner admitted to staging area. (Croons a version of "Hello, Goodbye.")
0002--Senior Warden signals that witnesses are in place. (You know what this means--great seats for Grant Woods.)
0003--Director tells witnesses there has been no reprieve. (In case of reprieve, skip this step.)
0004--Director orders Senior Warden to proceed. (See 2300.)
0004--Special Operations Team Leader exits the execution room. (Yells, "The last one out's a goner!")
0004--Blinds are opened to the witness area (30-second wait). (What the hell are they waiting for?)
0005--Senior Warden orders the consultants to proceed. (Organ music swells.)
0010--The consultants notify Senior Warden when completed. (High fives.)
0010--Senior Warden awaits a signal from the Doctor that the heart-monitor reading indicates death. (Doctor discouraged from performing CPR.)
0020--Blinds are closed to the witness area. (Feature-film presentation begins.)
0020--Medical Examiner admitted to the execution chamber. (Tells Sheriff Joke to get back in the witness room.)
0025--Director or Senior Warden advises witnesses that the execution was completed at . . . [time]. (Assuming either can tell time.)
0030--Witnesses are escorted from the witness area. (Escorts courtesy of Hooters.)
0030--CIU Photographs and fingerprints. (Dang. Shoulda done that first!)
0030--Special Operations Restraint Team is admitted. (Who ya gonna call?)
0040--Consultants remove IV and other medical equipment. (Gently now.)
0040--Consultants are escorted out after turning remaining drugs over to the Senior Warden. (Wouldn't want them to fall into the hands of killers.)
0050--Senior Warden returns drugs to the Operations Team Leader. ("Good batch, dude!")
0050--Medical Examiner removes body. (But soul is free to roam.)
0055--Cleanup of chamber by Special Operations Team. (Not feeling so "Special" anymore.)
0100--Drugs are delivered to the on-site Nursing Supervisor by the Operations Team Leader. (Just Say No!)
0100--Non-Lethal supplies picked up and returned to the Armory. (Hey, wait a minute. Aren't armories supposed to store lethal stuff?)
0115--Post traumatic incident debriefing-Special Operations Restraint Team. (Wusses.)
Waste Not Whatnot
Employees at KNXV-TV Channel 15 tell The Flash that station manager Michael Kronley, prominently featured in a recent New Times cover story, has handed down further edicts intended to bury the old, hard-hitting, investigative newscast ("Chit Happens," April 3).
The station will jettison the "Live, Local, Late Breaking" slogan which had replaced the "No Chit Chat, More News" motto under which the station had built a reputation for journalistic gumption.
The slogan--which had sounded a bit like KPHO-TV Channel 5's "Local, Live, Late Breaking"--will be replaced with the catchy "We Won't Waste Your Time."
And to make sure his employees live up to that promise, Kronley has told his reporters that no investigative story--no matter how important--may take up more than three minutes of air time. No same-day story, meanwhile, will last longer than 90 seconds.
"What that means," says one employee, "is that any story with any complexity simply won't be done."
Perhaps the name of KNXV's "The Investigators" team should be changed to "The Pokers Around."
Police Work As Proctology
KTVK-TV Channel 3 reported last week on a pair of mental giants suspected of stealing cars and trucks in the Valley area. Cute-as-a-darn-button news anchor Liz Habib told viewers that as a calling card, the thieves "left behind Xerox copies of their bare bottoms." Pause. "Their butts," she added helpfully, just in case we didn't know. However, Habib said, backsides are "just as distinctive as fingerprints," and the police expected to make a positive ID from the pair's derrieres.
The Flash has to wonder if there was a lineup. Ah, well. It's just comforting to know the police and Channel 3 are out there, watching our asses.
Bo Knows Conspiracies
On May 16 on KTAR-AM (620), friend to besieged right-wing separatists Bo Gritz was the guest of silky-growly Jay Laurence. Gritz, who had attempted negotiations with the Montana Freemen, had an interesting hypothesis about the motivation behind what he suspects was a plot to seize the Freemen's land:
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"They had a Tyrannosaurus rex jawbone over the door. I thought it was fake, but they said no, it's a dinosaur graveyard out there. If fossil fuels come from fossils. . . . I think there may be some rich oil deposits out there."
If The Flash remembers Natural History 101 correctly, the fossils in fossil fuel are those of decomposed plant matter from the Carboniferous period, many millions of years before the dinosaur age.
Colonel Kurtz--sorry, Gritz--is overlooking a more obvious theory, however: A secret cabal of Smithsonian researchers must have wanted to seize the land and turn it into a government-funded dig site, with the ultimate object of cloning an army of dinosaur shock troops with which to terrorize tax resisters. The reptiles would be under U.N. command, of course--radio-controlled from black helicopters.
Feed The Flash: voice, 229-8486; fax, 340-8806; online, firstname.lastname@example.org