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Statement by Attorney General Tom Horne regarding the execution of Richard Bible

PHOENIX (Thursday, June 30, 2011) – “On June 6, 1988, around 10:30 a.m., 9-year old Jennifer Wilson began riding her bicycle to a ranch a mile away from where her family was staying in Flagstaff, Arizona. Her family passed her while driving to the ranch, but Jennifer never arrived. The family began to look for her and discovered her bicycle by the side of the road. Jennifer’s mother reported seeing a Blazer-type vehicle near the area where the victim’s bicycle was found.  Police later received a report that Richard Bible was stealing from his family and was driving a Blazer-type vehicle.  Later that evening, police attempted to stop Bible, but Bible fled.  He was eventually taken into custody.

‘Jennifer’s naked body was found hidden under branches and debris near a tree on Sheep’s Hill, with her hands bound behind her back with a shoelace.  Jennifer’s head and genital area were severely decomposed, and she had multiple skull fractures and a broken jawbone indicating that blows to her head caused her death.  Items found at the scene were similar to items found in the vehicle Bible was driving.  Numerous hairs belonging to the victim were found in Bible’s vehicle and on his clothing.  The victim’s blood was also found on Bible’s shirt.  Following a six-week trial, a jury convicted Bible of first-degree murder, kidnapping and child molestation. 

‘Prior to this crime, Bible was convicted in 1981 of sexual assault and kidnapping a 17-year old girl.  He served a 7-year sentence for the convictions – he was released approximately one year prior to sexually assaulting and killing Jennifer Wilson. 

‘In denying Bible’s direct appeal, the Arizona Supreme Court commented that the “evidence in this case goes far beyond overwhelming evidence of guilt.  It is not only inconsistent with any reasonable hypothesis of innocence, it refutes any hypothesis other than Defendant’s guilt.”  State v. Bible, 858 P.2d 1152, 1192 (Ariz. 1993).

‘The delay of over 20 years in carrying out Bible’s execution highlights the need to reform the death penalty process.  My Office is committed to addressing the problem of delay in capital cases.  Although we acknowledge a need to carefully review these cases, the current delay is unconscionable and is unfair to the victim’s family and to the citizens of Arizona.”