AZ Attorney General to appeal ruling that halted execution

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Joseph Wood Joseph Wood
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Joseph Wood, currently on death row here in Arizona, was convicted and sentenced to death for gunning down his ex-girlfriend and her father 25 years ago. He was scheduled to die this coming Wednesday but a federal appeals court put a halt to that planned execution, giving Wood a few extra days, perhaps even more.

The judges who made the ruling late last week giving Wood a temporary stay said his lawyers presented "serious questions" that were reason enough to postpone the execution. But a Valley attorney CBS 5 News spoke to said make no mistake; This is only temporary, Joseph Wood will be eventually be put to death for his crime.

On Aug. 7, 1989, Wood walked into the bodyshop where 29-year-old Debbie Dietz was working and shot her father, 55-year-old Gene Dietz, the bodyshop owner, in the chest. Wood then turned the .38 caliber revolver on Debbie, shooting her in her stomach and chest. When police captured him he raised his gun at officers, who opened fire on Wood, wounding him.

Two of the three judges on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that Wood's execution should be postponed until such time that the state turns over records detailing who manufactured the two-drug combination that will be used to put Wood to death and also the qualifications of the people who will administer the drugs.

This is all coming on the heels of botched executions in Ohio and Oklahoma, which involved that drug combination. Court Rich, Senior Partner at Scottsdale's Rose Law Group, says Arizona has now become apart of the national discussion on execution.

"The 9th federal court[of appeals} is notoriously liberal, and I think they have taken a lot of steps for years and years to try to frustrate the implementation of the capital punishment, " Rich said. "And whether you're for it or against, I think that is clear what's going on and the state of Arizona has sent signs that they're not going to go quickly and quietly to disclose this information that they don't think is necessary," he added.

Early Sunday evening, CBS 5 News received a statement from the Arizona Attorney General, who plans to appeal the ruling.

"We will be asking the full court (9th Circuit) to consider this opinion.  Judge Bybee's dissent correctly points out that there is no First Amendment violation here.This decision could impact other government agencies and essentially get rid of any state's confidentiality statute regarding executions."

Court Rich says the drug-of-choice for executions is not allowed in the U.S. The new combination hasn't helped matters, he says, since it became so controversial.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation) All rights reserved.

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