Related topics

URGENT Inmate Executed in Arizona With AM-Red Dog Execution

March 3, 1993

FLORENCE, Ariz. (AP) _ An inmate who said he deserved to die for strangling his pregnant fiancee was executed by injection early Wednesday.

John George Brewer, 27, went to his death 1 1/2 hours after the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 7-2 vote, lifted a stay imposed by a federal appeals judge.

It was Arizona’s second execution since 1963 and the first since voters switched the state’s method from the gas chamber.

Earlier Tuesday, the state Board of Pardons and Paroles refused to move to block the execution after hearing Brewer’s mother argue against it and Brewer argue in favor.

″I committed this crime and I feel it is an appropriate penalty for the crime,″ he testified.

Brewer confessed shortly after the crime that he beat and strangled 23- year-old Rita Brier, who was 22 weeks pregnant, in the couple’s Flagstaff apartment in 1987, then had sex with the corpse.

He said he had to try three times to kill her with a necktie wrapped around her neck during a 45-minute struggle. He told the parole board he wished it had taken longer to kill her. ″I do not feel that she suffered enough,″ he said.

Brewer’s mother, Elsie Brewer, who attended the parole board hearing in a wheelchair, said her son had tried to kill himself as a boy.

″I’ve been trying to prevent him from committing suicide ever since he was a small child. Today I was trying to prevent him from committing suicide again,″ she said.

It was the 192nd execution nationwide since the U.S. Supreme Court in 1976 allowed states to resume use of the death penalty.

Michael Bayless, a Phoenix psychologist who said in 1988 that Brewer was competent to plead guilty, testified that he now questioned that finding because of new material he had seen.

″I said he was competent in 1988. I was most likely in error at that time,″ Bayless said.

In Delaware, James Allen Red Dog, who refuses to seek appeals to attempt to save his life, also faced execution by lethal injection Wednesday for nearly decapitating a man whose throat he slit two years ago.

Update hourly