Death Row Inmate Thomas West Still a Death Row Inmate; Execution's a Go for Tuesday, Clemency Board Rules

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Convicted murderer Thomas Paul West pleaded his case for his death sentence to be reduced to life in prison in front of the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency today, and the majority of the Board was apparently unmoved.

In a 3-2 vote, the Board denied West's request for a commutation of his death sentence.

During the hearing, West argued that being sexually abused as a child by three different men changed his life forever, and caused him to develop post-traumatic stress disorder.

According to the Arizona Republic, one of West's admitted abusers -- a former neighbor of his -- addressed the Board and admitted to performing oral sex on him when he was a child.

Bishop Jerry Kicanas of the Catholic Diocese of Tucson also testified and asked that West's life be spared.

West, meanwhile, admitted for the first time publicly that he killed Donald Bortle in 1987, the crime for which he received his death sentence.

West told the Board he beat Bortle to death with his bare hands before leaving his body bound in a closet where it decompose before being discovered. Initially, authorities claimed West beat Bortle with a lamp.

West's execution is scheduled for Tuesday at the state prison in Florence.

Correction: the original version of this post indicated that Bishop Kicanas admitted to performing oral sex on West, which, clearly, is not the case. Kicanas merely asked the Board to spare West's life. It was West's former neighbor who admitted to performing oral sex on him. The post has since been modified.

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