January 16, 2006

Supreme Court won’t stay Calif man’s execution

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Supreme Court denied requests on
Monday to stay the execution of California's oldest condemned
prisoner, 76-year-old Clarence Ray Allen, about 10 hours before
his scheduled execution.

Allen, who is legally blind, uses a wheelchair and suffers
from chronic heart disease and diabetes. He is scheduled to die
by lethal injection early on Tuesday and would be the
second-oldest man executed in the United States in recent

"At 5:05 (p.m. EST), the court entered orders denying the
requests for stays of execution and the petitions" for Allen, a
Supreme Court spokesman said.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said on Friday he
would not spare Allen's life.

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer issued a dissenting
statement, citing Allen's age, bad health and the fact he had
been on death row for 23 years as reasons to stay the

"I believe that in the circumstances he raises a
significant question as to whether his execution would
constitute cruel and unusual punishment. I would grant the
application for stay," Breyer said.

Allen, who says he is innocent, was sentenced to death for
ordering the killings in 1980 of three people while serving a
life sentence for murder in prison.

Schwarzenegger said in a statement denying clemency to
Allen, "His conduct did not result from youth or inexperience,
but instead resulted from the hardened and calculating
decisions of a mature man."

A 77-year-old man in Mississippi last month became the
oldest person executed in the United States since it resumed
capital punishment in 1977.