Daniel Wayne Cook, a death row inmate awaiting his court-imposed date with death for the last 24 years -- in an Arizona prison on the taxpayer's dime -- is one step closer to being strapped to the executioner's table.
This morning, the United States Supreme Court rejected an appeal from Cook requesting that his death sentence be overturned.
Cook was convicted of murder for the 1987 strangling deaths of two men in Lake Havasu City. He reportedly raped and tortured the men before murdering them.
The appeal filed by Cook's lawyers says the death sentence should be
overturned because Cook was recently diagnosed with post-traumatic
stress disorder and organic brain damage -- conditions, his lawyer says,
that were only recently diagnosed because the court hadn't allowed an
expert to testify at his sentencing.
Cook's attorney says her client was sexually, physically, and emotionally abused
as a child -- all of which was known when he went to trial more than two decades ago.
In a separate appeal, Cook's lawyers are challenging the use of a controversial sedative used in the execution process that could potentially cause Cook a little pain before he dies.
In November, the Arizona State Supreme Court refused to set an execution date for Cook because it was unclear how the state acquired the drug sodium thiopental, a sedative used to knock out the inmate before he's hit with a lethal dose of potassium chloride.
The supply of the drug has dwindled recently because its domestic
manufacturer stopped producing it. For other recent executions, the
state told the court it acquired the drug from an unnamed British
company that wished to remain anonymous because it feared a backlash
from anti-death-penalty groups.
Cook's lawyer claims that because the drug isn't manufactured in the
U.S., its quality can't be guaranteed and the condemned may suffer some
pain before dying.
As we've noted in previous posts about Cook, we have a feeling his victims didn't have much say in the amount of pain they experienced when they were brutally murdered 24 years ago.