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Edward Harold Schad

Oldest death row inmate executed for 1978 murder of Bisbee man

An Arizona inmate was executed Wednesday morning for the 1978 murder of an elderly Bisbee man. Edward Harold Schad, 71, was the oldest inmate on the state's death row. He was given a lethal injection of phenobarbital at 10:03 a.m. and pronounced dead nine minutes later.

An appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals was denied Monday, as was a last-minute appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday morning, setting the stage for Schad's execution.

"Well, after 34 years I’m free to fly away home. Thank you, warden. Those are my last words," Schad said, according to a news release from a Department of Corrections spokesman.

Schad's final meal, served Tuesday night, consisted of a meatball sandwich, French fries, corn on the cob, cranberry sauce, apple pie and a vanilla shake, said DOC's Bill Lamoreaux.

Schad was convicted of the murder of Lorimar "Leroy" Groves. The 74-year-old man "left Bisbee in a new Cadillac on a trip to Everett, Wash., to visit his sister" on Aug. 1, 1978, Lamoreaux said.

On Aug. 8, "Groves' badly decomposed body was discovered hidden in the brush just off U.S. Highway 89 south of Prescott," he said.

"Mr. Groves had been strangled with a rope that was still knotted around his neck. A month later, Schad was stopped for speeding in New York state. Schad was driving Mr. Groves' Cadillac, and many of Mr. Groves' personal belongings were in the car. Court documents also indicate that Schad had been using Groves’ credit card for approximately one month," Lamoreaux said.

At the time, Schad was on parole for the 1968 strangulation of a male sex partner in Utah — a death he said was accidental.

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Schad was convicted in the Groves murder in 1978, and again in 1985 after the first case was tossed out on appeal.

The second conviction was upheld in 1989 by the Arizona Supreme Court, but the case remained under appeal.

While he has maintained his innocence in the case, Schad said last week that he would accept his fate if a state board denied his request for a commutation of his sentence to life in prison.

"I'm 71. I don't have many years left, but I would like to keep what I've got and maybe get a few more, experience some of the green grass outside maybe," Schad told the state clemency board, according to CBS News. "If we have to go down that road on Oct. 9 ... I'll get my last rites. I'll go through that. I mean, I have no fear."

From CBS:

A top Yavapai County prosecutor told the clemency board that juries have twice rejected Schad's assertion of innocence.

"He doesn't take any responsibility for what he did," Chief Deputy County Attorney Dennis McGrane told the board. "Accidents two times, died of strangulation? I don't think so."

Schad was pronounced dead at 10:12 a.m. at the Arizona State Prison Complex in Florence.

There have been 35 executions in Arizona since 1992, with 121 inmates sitting on death row following Schad's execution.

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1 comment on this story

Oct 9, 2013, 1:24 pm
-0 +1

It is very difficult for me to think of anything as a “death penalty” when the sentence takes over three decades to be carried out.

Now that this guy is done, can we finally get Atwood’s long-overdue execution taken care of please?

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Edward Harold Schad, 71, was executed for a 1978 murder on Wednesday.