In its second execution in 9 days, Arizona carried out the death sentence of 47-year-old Robert “Chewie” Towery. Towery was charged in the 1991 killing of 69-year-old philanthropist Mark Jones, a Paradise Valley man known for providing dozens of University of Arizona students with scholarship funds.
Towery, 38, was pronounced dead at 11:26 a.m., nine minutes after the lethal injection procedure began at the Arizona State Prison Complex-Florence, according to a statement by Attorney General Tom Horne.
Michael Kiefer of the Arizona Republic News wrote a thorough account of the execution:
Wednesday night, Towery was served a last meal of porterhouse steak, baked potato with sour cream, asparagus, mushrooms, clam chowder, milk, Pepsi and apple pie a la mode.
Towery met with his attorneys before the execution began Thursday morning. The execution was scheduled to start at 10 a.m., but his attorney’s visit ran long and the executioner discovered he had to insert a catheter in the femoral artery, suggesting that they could not raise a vein in his arm.
Witnesses were not led into Housing Unit 9, where executions are carried out, until a few minutes after 11.
The execution began at 11:17. Towery looked to his family and attorneys. In his last words, he apologized to his family and to the victim’s. He talked about bad choices he had made. Then he said, as he appeared to be crying, “I love my family. Potato, potato, potato.”
He took a couple of hard breaths, one witness said, and then slipped into unconsciousness.