Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Nelson Campaign: Can’t “Remember” Arguing Against Death Penalty for Convicted Double Murderer; Says Death Penalty Undermines “Public Safety”

Caught flat-footed by revelations that he argued against the death penalty for a convicted double-murderer County Attorney candidate Tim Nelson’s campaign is suggesting Nelson doesn’t remember the memorable arguments he made. And the campaign is stating that death penalty prosecutions undermine public safety.
From politickeraz.com, September 29, 2008:
1) According to Joshua Kilroy, Nelson's campaign manager, Nelson is "trying hard to remember how all of this happened."
2) " Arizona has executed two prisoners in the last 19 years," said Kilroy. "It just doesn't happen that often. From the point of view of a prosecutor, deciding to devote such a huge amount of resources to this set of cases, Tim's concern is it might end up compromising public safety."

Nelson defended Jose Ceja, who brutally murdered a Phoenix couple. He shot the wife two times in the chest before dragging her to another room and shooting her four more times in the
head. He shot the husband four times. He kicked the victims as they lay dead or dying. He later threatened to kill his own wife.

Ceja was convicted and sentenced to the death penalty.
Nelson volunteered to represent Ceja, and to fight his death sentence even though Ceja’s own wife wanted him put to death.
Nelson argued that Ceja had already endured “torture” by spending so much time on death row. He said the death penalty wasn’t warranted after Ceja had allegedly exhibited his “non-violent behavior by living without incident on death row,” and with “honor and dignity.”

This, despite Ceja’s wife reporting publicly that he had threatened to kill her from death row. This, despite Department of Corrections records listing 18 disciplinary actions for Ceja including “throwing objects” and “rioting.”

“Nelson deceived the public and the media regarding his position on the death penalty. What’s even more outrageous is that he fought it for a convicted double murderer. Now he claims that he can’t remember doing this and the death penalty undercuts public safety. While he argued to give a convicted double murderer a break I think the public and I are saying ‘give me a break,’” County Attorney Thomas said.

Thomas’ campaign is prominently featuring Nelson’s opposition to the death penalty in advertisements.

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