The U.S. Supreme Court and Arizona Supreme Court both turned down a last-minute
mercy request from a death-row inmate who's set to be executed Thursday.
Lawyers for 47-year-old Robert Charles Towery asked the state's high court to
reduce his sentence to 25 years to life in prison. They argued that Towery's
partner in crime spent less than a decade in prison.
The court turned him down without comment less than 2 hours after the filing
On Wednesday evening, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 2-sentence order denying
Towery's application for an execution stay.
Towery has been on death row for nearly 20 years for killing Mark Jones of
Paradise Valley while robbing his home.
Randy Allen Barker, the other man convicted in the killing, was given a plea
deal for testifying against Towery and served just under 10 years in prison on
a 2nd-degree murder conviction. He was released in 2001.
On Friday, the state Board of Executive Clemency on Friday voted against
commuting Towery's death sentence, following a hearing.
Speaking from inside a cage at a prison facility in Florence that day, Towery,
a chunky man with a mustache and ponytail, tearfully apologized to Jones'
family for the murder, and to his own family for being "such a train wreck."
"I wish I had not taken Mark's life," he said, maintaining he has no
understanding of why he committed the crime. He attributed his past behavior to
a raging drug addiction.
"I can't make sense of it," he said. "It was just one mistake after another. It
ended with taking Mark's life. I wish I could change it, but I can't."
To Jones' family, he said, "I can only pray that they will find peace and that
someday they will be able to forgive me."
Towery, a mechanic, spent six years in prison during the 1980s for running a
chop shop, and he had been out of prison for a year when he and a girlfriend
robbed a restaurant at gunpoint, tying up the bar patrons with zip ties.
Days later, he and Randy Barker hatched the plan to rob Jones.
At 9 p.m. on Sept.4, 1991, Towery and Barker went to Jones' door, claiming to
have car trouble. Barker pretended to use Jones' phone while Towery cased the
According to court records, Towery strangled Jones. The 2 men took about $1,200
in cash, credit cards and a large television, which they loaded into Jones'
Lincoln Continental. They tried to steal a 2nd car, but its alarm went off, so
they abandoned it.
(source: Arizona Republic)