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Double murderer Robert Moody dies in Arizona prison

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Double murderer Robert Moody dies in Arizona prison

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Robert Moody, who was twice convicted of murdering two Tucson women in 1993, died last week in an Arizona state prison. Moody, who claimed "aliens" controlled his mind, was serving a life sentence after having the death penalty tossed out by the courts. A previous sentence had been overturned because Moody was found to have been incompetent to represent himself in court.

Moody stabbed, beat and shot to death an acquaintance, Michelle Malone, 33, in November 1993. Five days later, he stabbed and beat to death a neighbor, Patricia Magda, 56, slitting her throat and then bludgeoning her with hedge clippers.

He robbed both women, including forcing Malone to write him a check for $500 — and then another because the first check was smeared with her blood. After the murder, Moody pawned two guns stolen from Malone's home.

Moody, 60 years old this year, died on October 7 at a hospital in Yuma after being taken there by paramedics. He had been held at the state prison in Yuma. No cause of death has been released; the county medical examiner is investigating, state authorities said.

Moody, who was addicted to crack cocaine, was arrested for first-degree murder in January 1994. During a trial and sentencing that lasted until October of 1995, the former financial analyst claimed that space aliens were controlling his mind when he murdered the two women.

Moody clashed with his public defender, who wanted to put on an insanity defense, but the judge in that first trial would not allow Moody to replace him. The defense attorney eventually withdrew from the case, and Moody represented himself at trial.

Found guilty of both murders and sentenced to death, Moody had his conviction overturned when the state Supreme Court found that the judge made an error in allowing him to represent himself.

Moody was tried again, and convicted again for both murders, in 2001. A judge again sentenced him to be executed.

That sentence was vacated when the U.S. Supreme Court found a year later that only juries could impose a death penalty, not judges.

Moody's second conviction stood. Rather than hold a new trial on whether to sentence him to death, the Pima County Attorney's Office opted to have a judge determine what level of life sentence Moody would receive. He was sentenced to consecutive terms of life in prison without the possibility of parole in February 2010.

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