Date of Birth: July 24,
On June 6, 1986, at
approximately 3:00 p.m., Henry and Vernon Foote kidnapped Roy Estes from
his Las Vegas apartment. The two men forced Estes into his truck and
drove off with him. Estes, an elderly man, was partially paralyzed and
used a walker.
Henry and Foote took Estes to a
desert area approximately 40 miles north of Kingman, where they cut his
throat and stabbed him in the heart.
After hiding Estes' body behind
a bush, Henry and Foote drove back to Highway 93, where police officers
stopped Henry, who was driving the wrong way on the highway. Henry gave
the police a false name and was arrested for drunk driving.
On June 8, 1986, after learning
Henry's true name and that Estes was missing, the police questioned
Henry about Estes' whereabouts. Henry immediately blamed Foote for
killing Estes and led police to the body.
In a separate trial, Foote was
convicted of robbery and theft, but the jury could not reach a verdict
on the murder charge. Foote later pled guilty to attempted first-degree
Presiding Judge: Steven F. Conn
Prosecutor: James J. Zack
Start of Trial: November 24, 1987
Verdict: December 9, 1987
Sentencing: March 16, 1988
Resentencing: February 23, 1995
Prior convictions punishable by life imprisonment
Prior convictions involving violence
None sufficient to call for leniency
State v. Henry, 176 Ariz. 569, 863 P.2d 861 (1993).
State v. Henry, 189 Ariz. 452, 944 P.2d 57 (1997).
March 21, 2002
Warrant of Execution has been issued by
the Arizona Supreme Court for the execution of
Graham Saunders Henry ADC#067112 on May 8, 2002.
April 16, 2002
A STAY has been issued by the U.S. District Court in the May 8,
2002 scheduled execution of Graham Saunders Henry ADC#067112
Death row cases linger for decades
On June 6, 1986, Graham
Saunders Henry and an accomplice kidnapped an elderly disabled man and
killed him in a remote desert area north of Kingman. After his capture,
Henry went on trial for the murder, and on March 16, 1988, he was
sentenced to death.
More than 20 years later, his case
continues to grind its way through the system, with new proceedings
scheduled in federal court later this month.
amazing, isn't it?" said Jace Zack, assistant county attorney for Mohave
County. "None of the countys death penalty cases are anywhere close to
8 prisoners from Mohave County
currently sit on death row in the state prison at Florence, where 86 men
and 1 woman have been executed since 1910.
they will ever receive the ultimate sanctionor will instead remain
trapped in a Kafkaesque legal limbo of appeals, rule changes and
reversals, with death always just beyond the horizonis questionable.
A recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on the constitutionality of
lethal injection appeared to clear the way for the execution of Jeffrey
Landrigan, who was convicted of a brutal murder in Phoenix 2 decades
ago. It would be Arizona's 1st execution since the execution of Robert
Comer by lethal injection in 2007.
was itself Arizona's 1st in more than 7 years.
must travel even further backinto Arizona's Wild West pastto find the
last recorded execution of a Mohave County prisoner.
That execution, which took place in 1928.at the state penitentiary in
Florence, was likely a gruesome sighta rare quadruple hanging. The
executed were 4 Chinese immigrants convicted of the murder of a fellow
immigrant in Kingman, in 1926. The immigrantsallegedly assassins tied to
Chinas feared Tong gangburst into Tom King's restaurant in Kingman, shot
him dead, and were apprehended by authorities in Topock.
Fast-forward more than e80 years, and not a single Mohave County
prisoner has since shared their fate.
It is not from
lack of trying. Beginning with Henry's conviction and death sentence in
1988, seven other Mohave County prisoners have joined him on death row.
Yet proceedings on all 8 continue, with no apparent end in sight.
"The worst effect is on the victims, who have to wait to see justice
meted out," said Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith. "There is a great
deal of frustration."
Zack laid the blame on capital
defense lawyers. "New procedure laws were supposed to streamline the
death penalty," he said. "However, defense attorneys are working
overtime figuring out how to thwart justice in many cases."
Jim Belanger, president of Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice, and a
capital defender himself, said the state and counties had no one to
blame but themselves for the slow pace of executions. "In Arizona, you
have a reversal rate and an error rate approaching 60 %," he said. "If
you're going to have a death penalty, you've got to have an adequately
funded and competent defense."
Death penalty opponents
point to those on Arizonas death row who have ultimately been proven
innocent as proof of major flaws in the administration of capital
punishment in the state.
At least six death row
inmates have been exonerated and released in Arizona since 1976. Most
recently, in 2002 Ray Krone, a U.S. Postal Service mail carrier with no
prior criminal record, was released from prison after having previously
been sentenced to death. After 2 convictions and 10 years imprisonment,
DNA evidence clearly pointed to
another killer, who was already in custody.
continues to wrestle with the cost of properly funding capital defenders.
"In a lot of the counties Mohave County among them the
resources devoted to the defense of capital cases was historically
inadequate," said Belanger. "Arizona has generally not met its
obligation to adequately fund capital defenses."
however, said that his office mitigates the expense of capital defense
which must be largely borne by county governments by only seeking the
death penalty against the most heinous offenders. "It minimizes the cost
to the county by seeking the death penalty in an appropriate case,"
Smith said. "Not every 1st-degree murder case is a death penalty case."
One estimate pegs the cost of simply defending a capital case at
$250,000, but over the long life of some cases costs can spiral up into
the millions of dollars.
The Graham Henry case, while
now handled by the Arizona Attorney General's office, is still costing
Mohave County money, 20 years after conviction and sentencing. "It still
requires some of our resources," said Zack. "These things take years."
Graham Saunders Henry