PHOENIX — Without dissent, the Board of Executive Clemency voted Wednesday to reject Edward Schad’s request to commute his death sentence.
The 3-0 vote came after federal Public Defender Kelley Henry said the board refused to consider evidence of his positive prison behavior since being convicted of the 1978 death of Bisbee resident Lorimer Grove, whose body was found near Prescott.
“They required him to prove absolutely his innocence,’’ she said.
Henry had no better luck with a separate plea for the board to grant Schad at least a temporary reprieve — essentially a stay of execution — to give him a chance to pursue his claim that top aides to Gov. Jan Brewer improperly and illegally have sought to influence the panel and pressure members against recommending clemency in high-profile cases. Only Jack LaSota voted to grant that delay.
Henry is now asking the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to intervene .
But Henry said the appellate judges will not even schedule a hearing until U.S. District Court Judge Roslyn Silver issues a formal ruling on her refusal Tuesday to block the clemency board hearing. That is not supposed to happen until Friday.
Time is running out: Absent some action by that panel — or the U.S. Supreme Court — Schad is scheduled to be executed Wednesday.
Schad’s claim is based on statements by ex-board members that Scott Smith, then the governor’s deputy chief of staff, told them Brewer was unhappy they had sent her certain clemency recommendations. That includes one man whose murder conviction is now being questioned and a second sentenced to 90 years in prison for having 10 child pornography items on his computer.
The governor is forced to make a decision only if the board recommends clemency. A refusal to recommend clemency means she has nothing to decide.
The former board members said they were denied reappointment because of their votes.
Claims of a poisoned board also are being pursued by Robert Glen Jones Jr., to be executed this month. He was convicted in the 1996 deaths of two people during a robbery in Tucson and four other murders . His clemency hearing would be a week before the execution.