Aaron Gunches: Arizona death row inmate seeks to withdraw his request to be executed

Aaron Gunches

A death row inmate in Arizona who had asked the Arizona Supreme Court to issue a death warrant for him has filed a motion to withdraw his motion for a death warrant.

In court documents related to his latest request, Aaron Gunches wrote that he filed his motion for a death warrant on Nov. 25, not knowing that Kris Mayes, who won the election for Arizona Attorney General, had stated intentions of "pausing" executions in Arizona.

Aaron Gunches would not have filed his motions had he known this stunning news, and now seeks to withdraw," read a portion of the hand-written court documents. Gunches originally asked the Arizona Supreme Court to issue a death warrant for him to give closure to the victim’s family.

In the same document, Gunches claims the executions of Clarence Dixon, Frank Atwood, and Murray Hooper were carried out "in a matter that amounts to torture," and that Gunches does not want to be tortured, and that he is asking the court to withdraw the motion, with the ability to re-file at a time after the Attorney General's Office insures executions can be done in a proper manner.

In a separate move, the Arizona Attorney General’s Office on Dec. 7 requested the state Supreme Court issue a warrant of execution for Gunches.

Gunches originally sentenced to death in 2008

Prosecutors said Gunches fatally shot his girlfriend’s ex-husband in 2002 and the victim’s body was later found in a desert area.

Gunches was pulled over by the Arizona Department of Public Safety near the California border in 2003 and shot a trooper twice, according to authorities.

The trooper survived thanks to a bulletproof vest and bullet casings from the shooting scene matched the ones found near Price’s body.

Gunches later pleaded guilty to kidnapping and killing Price and to the attempted murder of the DPS trooper.

Gunches was originally sentenced to death in 2008. He’s one of 21 death row inmates who have exhausted their appeals.

In 2010, the Arizona Supreme Court found an error in the sentencing proceeding, and remanded Gunches’ case for new sentencing. He was sentenced to death again in 2013.

According to the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation & Reentry, there are 110 death row inmates in the state.

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