Death Row

Nearly 20 Percent of Arizona's Condemned Inmates Have Been Sitting on Death Row for at Least 20 Years -- on the Taxpayers' Dime

Kid-killing child molester Richard Bible was executed this morning after sitting on death row -- on taxpayers' dime -- for more than 20 years.

But Bible's not the only convicted murderer who's called death row home for more than two decades. In fact, we crunched the numbers and found that nearly 20 percent (24 out 130) Arizona death-row inmates have spent at least 20 years waiting to die.

See the Department of Corrections' list of death row inmates here.

One inmate in particular, Robert Moorman, has been on death row for 26 years. He's been in prison since 1972, though, for a kidnapping in Coconino County.

About 13 years into his sentence for the kidnapping, Moorman was granted a 72-hour "compassionate furlough" from the Florence Prison so he could spend time with his mother.

The two reportedly stayed at the Blue Mist Motel across the street from the prison, where Moorman bound and gagged his own mother before strangling and fatally stabbing her. Then he chopped her body up into several pieces and disposed of it in dumpsters throughout Florence. Twenty-six years later, Moorman hasn't been executed.

According to the DOC's 2010 Operating Per Capita Cost Report, it costs taxpayers $66.90 a day ($24,418 a year) to house, feed, and care for a single inmate in the Browning Unit of the Eyman Prison, where death-row inmates are housed. That's about $6 more than the $60.59 average for all units in the prison system.

Multiply $24,418 by the 24 inmates who've spent more than 20 years on death row, and you'll see that Arizona spent $586,032 last year alone to house convicted murderers who've spent more than two decades waiting to be executed.

Again, that's last year alone -- and it's only about 20 percent of the Death Row population. When you look at all of death row, Arizona taxpayers spent $3,174,405 on cell space for convicted murderers last year as they attempt to cheat court-ordered executions.

Following Bible's execution this morning, Attorney General Tom Horne issued a statement saying, "The delay of over 20 years in carrying out Bible's execution highlights the need to reform the death penalty process."

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James King
Contact: James King

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