Arizona's 6th execution of 2012 set for Dec. 5

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX (AP) — The Arizona Supreme Court has granted a motion for a warrant of execution for death row inmate Richard Dale Stokley.

The warrant announced Tuesday sets the execution date for Dec. 5.

Stokley, 60,  lost an Oct. 1 appeal in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

Stokley was convicted in the July 1991 kidnapping, rape and murder of two 13-year-old girls who went missing from a camp-out in Elfrida in southwestern Arizona's Cochise County. Authorities say the girls' bodies were later dumped down a water-filled mineshaft.

Stokley was convicted and sentenced to death in 1992. The Arizona Supreme Court affirmed the convictions and death sentence in 1995.

Stokley's friend, Randy Brazeal, was convicted of second-degree murder in the killings. He was released from prison last year.

The most recent execution in Arizona was Daniel Wayne Cook on Aug. 8. Cook, 51, spent nearly half of his life on death row for strangling two men to death in Lake Havasu City in 1987. His execution by injection was Arizona's fifth so far this year.

Stokley will be the sixth. The most executions Arizona has conducted in a year was seven in 1999.

If Arizona ties that record this year, it could become the second-busiest death-penalty state after Texas.

There was a period of three decades -- April 1962 to April 1992 -- during which no executions were performed in Arizona. During that time, the Legislature rewrote Arizona's law to comply with a 1972 Supreme Court ruling in Furman v. Georgia, which dealt with how the death penalty is applied.

Since the death penalty's reinstatement in 1979, the Grand Canyon State has executed 33 inmates, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

The Arizona Department of corrections website lists 125 inmates, three of them women, on Arizona's death row.