The Main Stream

May 2, 2012 5:31 PM

Lawyers fighting upcoming Arizona execution

PHOENIX (AP) - Lawyers for an Arizona death-row inmate are fighting his upcoming execution.

Samuel Villegas Lopez's attorneys argue in one filing Tuesday that three newly appointed clemency board members are unprepared to consider his arguments for mercy.

In another filing Tuesday, they argue that the state Department of Corrections is violating Lopez's constitutional rights by repeatedly violating its own execution protocol.

The 49-year-old Lopez is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection May 16 in what would be the fourth execution in Arizona this year.

Lopez was convicted of raping, robbing and stabbing 59-year-old Estafana Holmes to death in her Phoenix apartment in October 1986, after what court records described as a "terrible and prolonged struggle."

Lopez's attorneys argue that he had a difficult childhood, began inhaling paint and glue at a young age and has brain damage caused by pain and trauma in his life.

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