AG Horne Statement on the Execution of Thomas Paul West

PHOENIX (Tuesday, July 19, 2011) -- "Thomas Paul West learned that Donald Bortle had a large amount of electronics for sale at his Tucson home. Around July 1987, West went with a friend to Bortle’s home and his friend bought three items. Later West returned and in West’s words to several different people "he had beat this old man up and tied his arms and legs behind his back and threw him in the closet and then he ripped his stuff off." State v. West 176 Ariz. 432, 437, 862 P.2d 192, 197(1993). Before West left town, he had a friend help him load a cache of electronic equipment hidden in the desert into a station wagon. They had to leave some in the desert because they would not fit. West was able to sell some of the items before leaving town.

‘A Pima County detective found the victim's decomposing body in the north bedroom of the victim’s home. The victim's hands and feet were tied behind his back with a vacuum cleaner cord and a lamp wire. The medical examiner later testified that the victim had been beaten severely about the face with a blunt instrument and that he probably had bled to death within 45 minutes to an hour. West was arrested in Illinois. West had some of the stolen equipment in his vehicle.

‘The Arizona Supreme Court agreed that the murder was heinous and committed for pecuniary gain. The Court noted that West repeatedly beat a 53-year-old man on the head and left him bound hand and foot and bleeding in an empty house. Later, he deliberately refused to seek aid, although urged to do so.

‘I am committed to seeking justice for the families and friends of the victims of these heinous crimes. The current delays in capital cases are unconscionable and unfair to the victim’s family and to the citizens of Arizona."

Note: The execution commenced at 11:01 and concluded at 11:10.