FLORENCE, Ariz. - Arizona executed an inmate yesterday for killing and dismembering his adoptive mother while he was out of prison on furlough for another crime, despite a spate of last-minute appeals over his mental disabilities and over how the state has violated its own execution protocol.
Just before he was put to death, Robert Henry Moormann used his last words to apologize to his family and to the family of an 8-year-old girl he kidnapped and molested in 1972.
“I hope this brings closure and they can start healing now,’’ he said. “I just hope that they will forgive me in time.’’
Moormann is the first Arizona inmate to be executed with one lethal drug, as opposed to the state’s longstanding three-drug protocol.
The switch was made after corrections officials realized Monday that one of the three drugs had expired. In doing so, they violated their own new written execution protocol by giving Moormann only two days’ notice of how he would be put to death instead of seven days’ notice.
Moormann appeared to move more than other inmates executed with the three-drug protocol. Unlike the other inmates, who appeared to fall asleep immediately, Moormann kept his eyes open during the entire execution.
Arizona joins Ohio, Texas, and several other states that last year made the switch to pentobarbital after the only US manufacturer of execution drug sodium thiopental said it would discontinue production.
In July, the only US-licensed manufacturer of pentobarbital said it would put the drug off-limits for executions. And a company that bought the pentobarbital line in December is required to also keep it from use by prisons for executions.
Once states use up their current supplies of pentobarbital, executions could be delayed across the country as officials look for yet another alternative.
Hours after the Supreme Court turned down a request for a stay, the two-member execution team gave the lethal injection to Moormann at 10:23 a.m. The 63-year-old was pronounced dead at 10:33 a.m.
The execution happened just a minute’s drive away from the Blue Mist Motel, where on Jan. 13, 1984, he beat, stabbed, and suffocated his adoptive mother, Roberta Moormann, 74, who sexually abused him into adulthood, according to defense lawyers.
He cut off her head, legs, and arms, halved her torso, and flushed all her fingers down the toilet. He then went to various businesses asking if he could dispose of spoiled meat and animal guts before he threw most of her remains in trash bins and sewers throughout the dusty town, about 60 miles southeast of Phoenix.