Arizona death-row inmate is denied clemency

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By Erin Kennedy By Erin Kennedy

PHOENIX (AP) -- The state's clemency board denied Robert Glen Jones Jr.'s plea to avoid a death sentence Wednesday, setting the stage for his scheduled execution next week for murdering six people in Tucson 17 years ago.

An attorney for Jones said the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency voted 4-0 against a reprieve or recommending to Gov. Jan Brewer that Jones' sentence be commuted to life in prison.

Jones, 44, did not attend his clemency hearing, which lasted nearly five hours at the state prison in Florence.

He also has denied interview requests and is scheduled to be executed by injection on Oct. 23.

It would be Arizona's 36th execution since 1992 and the second this month. On Oct. 9, the state executed 71-year-old Edward Schad, who was convicted of killing a Bisbee man in 1978.

Jones was sentenced to death for the fatal shootings of six people during two armed robberies in Tucson weeks apart in 1996.

Jones' lawyers said his 1998 convictions hinged on the testimony of the getaway driver, who later "cut a deal" with prosecutors and was sentenced to four years in prison.

Federal public defender Dale Baich said Jones has at least one motion pending with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals about prosecutors allegedly withholding evidence at his client's trial.

Jones and co-defendant Scott Nordstrom were found guilty of fatally shooting two people at a Tucson smoke shop and four others at a social club two weeks later.

Authorities said Jones, who was on parole at the time, entered the Moon Smoke Shop with Nordstrom on May 30, 1996.

Jones was accused of fatally shooting a customer in the head and then shooting an employee behind the counter who survived. Another employee was gunned down by Nordstrom before the robbers took money from a cash register.

Pima County prosecutors said Jones fatally shot three customers sitting at the bar of the Firefighters Union Hall on June 13, 1996, and took a victim's wallet. Nordstrom was accused of killing a bartender who couldn't open the safe because she didn't know the combination.

Jones and Nordstrom again took cash from a register and split it with their lookout, Scott Nordstrom's brother, who was the getaway driver in each robbery.

The murder cases were solved when David Nordstrom later contacted police. Scott Nordstrom was sentenced to death and is one of 121 people remaining on Arizona's death row, including two women.