Whether to Execute Man at 94

 Here in its entirety is a brief item from the Arizona Republic:

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday sent the case of Arizona Death Row inmate Viva Leroy Nash back to a lower court to determine if he is mentally competent to assist in his appeals.

Nash, who turned 94 last week, has a criminal record that goes back to the 1930s.

He spent 25 years in prison for shooting a Connecticut police officer in 1947, and he was sentenced to life in prison for shooting a man to death in Salt Lake City in 1977. But he escaped from a prison work crew in October 1982, and a month later, already 67 years old, he shot and killed a Phoenix coin shop sales clerk named Greg West. He was sentenced to death for that murder.

But Nash’s attorneys argue that his diminishing competence hampers his ability to communicate on legal matters. And on Sept. 11, a panel of judges at the 9th circuit ruled that he was entitled to a competence hearing. The case was remanded to the U.S. District Court in Phoenix

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