Thomas Paul West to be Executed Within the Hour for 1987 Murder

For the fifth time since October, Arizona is set to execute a convicted murderer. Like many before him, Thomas Paul West has been on Death Row for over 20 years.

West is scheduled to die -- barring a last-minute reprieve -- at 11 a.m.

West, 52, was found guilty of the 1987 murder of Donald Bortle.

West claims post-traumatic stress disorder, from which he claims to suffer after being sexually and physically abused as a child, is the reason he killed Bortle.

Last week, the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency -- in a 3-2 vote -- denied West's request for a commutation of his death sentence.

This morning, the Supreme Court denied two petitions filed by West's attorneys to block the execution. The Arizona Republic spoke to one of West's lawyers, who says there are no other legal matters pending.

West beat Bortle to death during a burglary-gone-wrong in June of 1987.

As West was burglarizing Bortle's trailer, Borlte came home and surprised him. West beat him to death and left him hogtied in a closet. Bortle's decomposing body was found later by authorities.

During his hearing in front of the Clemency Board, West admitted to murdering Bortle for the first time.

From the Republic:

Only last week during his clemency hearing did West finally admit that he used his bare fists to pummel Bortle.

"It was over faster than I'm talking here now," he said.

West claimed that he did not know Bortle was dead until he was arrested days later.

"I honestly thought he was up and walking around when I was a block away from there," he said.

Check back later for updates.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.