Request to block execution cites clemency issue

Request to block execution cites clemency issue

Samuel Villegas Lopez, 49, who was convicted of raping, robbing and stabbing a 59-year-old woman to death in her Phoenix apartment in 1986, is seen in this undated, handout photo provided by the Arizona Department of Corrections. The Arizona Supreme Court is slated to approve the death warrants for Lopez and another man.

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by Paul Davenport, Associated Press Writer

azfamily.com

Posted on May 15, 2012 at 8:58 AM

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PHOENIX (AP) -- An Arizona death-row inmate is asking the state Supreme Court to block his execution Wednesday so a lower court can consider whether the inmate's rights to a fair clemency hearing have been violated.

Attorneys for inmate Samuel Villegas Lopez cite a trial judge's ruling Monday that Lopez may not have received a fair shot at a clemency hearing because of questions of whether the state clemency board is legally constituted.

The judge scheduled a July hearing on whether newly appointed board members needed to have required training before hearing clemency cases and whether one had the required qualification of demonstrating an interest in corrections before being appointed.

Lopez is scheduled to be executed at a state prison in Florence for the 1986 murder of 59-year-old Estefana Holmes of Phoenix.

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