Unless something unusual happens, longtime death row inmate Thomas Kemp will die in less than two hours after the State of Arizona injects him with lethal poison.
|Thomas Kemp: Dead man walking|
Kemp, who is 63, will be the third Arizona inmate to be executed already in this still-youngish year.
Without commenting on the efficacy of capital punishment, let us say this about Mr. Kemp: If the death penalty theoretically is to be reserved for "the worst of the worst," he surely fits the bill.
However, those rabidly in favor of Arizona SB 1070 should note, they may be losing one of their most fervent supporters when the government kills Kemp.
Kemp has been on the Row since 1993.
Kemp was convicted in the 1992 robbery-murder of a Tucson man, a random victim who happened to be in this country illegally, whom the killer and a cohort came upon outside the man's apartment.
Later, the pair kidnapped a couple near Flagstaff and made them drive to Durango, Colorado. Kemp raped the man at some point during the trek, which ended safely for the victims after they escaped to freedom.
At his Pima County sentencing, Kemp declined to plead for mercy, telling the judge that his "so-called victim was not an American citizen and therefore was beneath my contempt. If more of them ended up dead, the rest of them would soon learn to stay in Mexico where they belong."
We have no clue if Kemp's point of view has changed during the intervening two decades.
Another execution is just around the corner, the scheduled May 16 termination of Samuel Lopez for the rape-murder of a Phoenix woman.
In the small world of things, we met Mr. Lopez many years ago through his onetime elementary-school teacher who we were following for a yarn.