The Arizona Board of Executive Clemency on Friday voted against commuting the
death sentence of Robert Towery, who is scheduled to be executed Thursday for
the murder of a Paradise Valley man 2 decades ago.
Towery, 47, was sentenced to death for the 1991 murder of Mark Jones during a
On Sept. 4, 1991, Towery and an accomplice, Randy Barker, went to Jones' door
claiming to have car trouble. Towery had met Jones, 68, before in a business
Barker pretended to use Jones' phone while Towery cased the house. Then Barker
held a gun as Towery made Jones lie face down on a bed and supposedly injected
him with a syringe full of car-battery acid that he told Jones would put him to
sleep. Then, according to court records, Towery strangled Jones with zip ties.
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.
Barker testified against Towery and was rewarded with a plea to 2nd-degree
murder and a 10-year prison sentence, in contrast to Towery's death sentence.
According to court records, Barker served his sentence and was released from
prison. The battery acid theory came from Barker and was questioned at trial. A
medical examiner testified that the needle sticks in Jones' body were
consistent with medical care. Jones, who had a heart transplant, underwent
In his petition to the Board of Executive Clemency, Towery's attorney noted the
disparity in sentences between the two accomplices, and it detailed Towery's
drug use, the physical abuse he had suffered at the hands of his mother and the
sexual abuse inflicted on him by a neighbor.
Towery will be the 2nd person executed in Arizona using a single drug instead
of a 3-drug cocktail. Robert Moormann was executed 2 days ago.
The Arizona Attorney General's Office has asked the state Supreme Court to set
execution dates for two more Arizona death row inmates.
(source: Arizona Republic)