Kemp is put to death with 'no regrets'

Killed PCC student in 1992, told judge, 'I spit on the law'
2012-04-26T00:00:00Z Kemp is put to death with 'no regrets'Kim Smith Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
April 26, 2012 12:00 am  • 

FLORENCE - Thomas Kemp was executed Wednesday morning for robbing and killing a Pima Community College student nearly 20 years ago.

Asked if he had any final words, Kemp replied, "Yes, I do. I have no regrets."

Kemp, 63, then smiled at his Tucson attorney, Tim Gabrielsen, one of 20 people who witnessed the execution.

In the summer of 1992, Kemp was working as a trailer park maintenance man and living with his mother when he bought a .380 semiautomatic handgun and told a friend, Jeffery Logan, he needed to rob someone to pay some bills, court documents indicate.

On July 11, 1992, Kemp and Logan kidnapped Hector Soto Juarez, 25, from his vehicle outside a fast-food restaurant. They withdrew $200 from Juarez's bank account, filled up Kemp's truck and drove out into the desert. Once there, they made Juarez disrobe and one of them shot him repeatedly in the head.

The men drove to Flagstaff and tried to use Juarez's bank card a few more times. After selling Kemp's truck, they caught a ride to Albuquerque with a couple. Kemp then forced the couple to drive them to Denver, where Kemp raped the man and Logan raped the woman, according to court documents.

Logan called Tucson police from Denver on July 20 and was arrested July 25. He received a life sentence. Kemp was arrested July 28.

Kemp was convicted in Pima County Superior Court of first-degree murder, armed robbery and kidnapping in June 1993. In imposing the death penalty, Superior Court Judge Richard Nichols cited Kemp's past violent criminal history, plus the fact the crime was "especially cruel" and committed for monetary gain.

At the time of his sentencing, Kemp told Nichols, "I don't show any mercy, and I am certainly not here to plead for mercy. I spit on the law and all those who serve it."

Kemp went on to say, "The so-called victim was not an American citizen and, therefore, was beneath my contempt." He then continued, "If more of them ended up dead, the rest of them would soon learn to stay in Mexico where they belong."

Kemp declined to petition the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency for a lighter sentence.

No family members for Kemp or Juarez were among the execution witnesses.

The deadly mix of chemicals started to make their way into Kemp's body at 10:01 a.m. Soon he blew out a couple of breaths, quivered for about three seconds, then appeared to fall asleep. It was over by 10:08 a.m.

Kemp's final meal was a bacon cheeseburger with fries, root beer, a slice of boysenberry pie and strawberry ice cream.

Kemp became the 94th person executed by the state since 1910 and the third person executed this year.

The last execution of a person convicted by a Pima County jury was in July, when Thomas West was put to death for the fatal beating of a disabled Tucson man, Donald Lee Bortle, in 1987.

Contact reporter Kim Smith at 573-4241 or

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