Execution set for Pima County beating death

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- Thomas west is next up on Arizona's death row. In Pima County 24 years ago, he beat Donald Bortle to death while burglarizing his home.

"As soon as I realized what I did, I was horrified. And I've carried this guilt with me forever. And I cannot forgive myself," said West before the state clemency board Thursday.

Just days before his date with the executioner, West asked for clemency; for the board to recommend the governor changes his sentence from death to life in prison.

"None of us should be here because this should have never happened," said West.

West apologized to Bortle's family, as the victim's oldest son listened on the phone.

"I hope the Bortle family can forgive this offense. Not me, I don't think I deserve it, but I want them to find peace in their heart. And try to live the rest of their life as peaceful as they can," said West.  "With all of that said, quite naturally I do not want to die."

West implored the clemency board to spare him so he can help keep his 13-year-old grandson off drugs.

"I really, honest to God want to stay alive only so I can continue to try and mentor my grandson," said West.

Others, including Tucson Bishop Gerald Kicanis via video, testified on West's behalf.  Telling of the sexual abuse he received as a child at the hands of a priest and a neighbor.

But on the phone, the victim's son, David Bortle tells the board he's not buying it.

"Mr. West can't keep using the past as an excuse for his behavior. Mr. West is now begging for mercy.  But he showed my dad no mercy at all," said Bortle.

And by a three to two margin, the board decided on letting the execution move forward.

"The case will not be recommended to the Governor for commutation of sentencing," said Jack LaSota from the Arizona Clemency Board.

One of the members who voted for Clemency said he doesn't believe West intended to kill Bortle.

"I'm a little uncomfortable with it, because I don't think Mr. West is the kind of person who, if he were tried today, would be subject to the death penalty," said LaSota.

Barring a last-minute stay on Tuesday, west will be Arizona's 91st inmate to die by capital punishment.

The execution is scheduled for 11:00 A.M. Tuesday.  Fox 11's Lou Raguse will be in attendance as a media representative.

The West ruling comes as the Arizona legislature gets hit with a lawsuit surrounding the state's execution methods.

The federal public defenders office claims the Department of Corrections holds too much power in determining how death row inmates are executed.

The suit was filed on behalf of four inmates including Thomas West.