San Francisco Chronicle: Supreme Court denies stay of execution
The U.S. Supreme Court denied Clarence Ray Allen’s request for a stay of execution today, clearing the way for the state to put the 76-year-old inmate to death by lethal injection at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday for ordering three murders from his prison cell a quarter century ago.
The court turned down Allen’s final appeals at 2:05 p.m. today. One justice, Stephen Breyer, cast a dissenting vote, saying Allen was entitled to review of his claim that his execution would be unconstitutional because of his age, feeble condition and multiple illnesses.
Allen “is 76 years old, blind, suffers from diabetes, is confined to a wheelchair and has been on death row for 12 years,” Breyer said. “I believe that in the circumstances he raises a significant question as to whether his execution would constitute cruel and unusual punishment.”
There were no comments from the other justices. Five votes on the nine-member court were needed for a stay of execution.
End of the road for Clarence Ray Allen.
Allen was first convicted of murder for the 1974 killing of his son’s girlfriend, Mary Sue Kitts, a witness to a Fresno grocery store burglary by a gang of thieves led by Allen. While serving a life sentence in Folsom Prison, he was convicted of ordering the 1980 murders of three people at the same grocery store, one of them a witness to the earlier killing.
The gunman in the 1980 killings, Billy Ray Hamilton, was also sentenced to death and is on San Quentin’s death row. Prosecutors said Hamilton, a fellow inmate at Folsom before his parole, was given a list of eight people who had testified against Allen for the 1974 murder. Another inmate testified that Allen offered Hamilton $25,000 to kill them.
Over thirty years to execute this scum. And while in prison he conjures up the murder of three others.
Justice for his victims………
Mary Sue Kitts
The case involved the murders of Bryon Schletewitz, 27, Douglas White, 18, and Josephine Rocha, 17. Prosecutors told a jury in Fresno that Allen had organized the murder and paid a fellow inmate, Billy Ray Hamilton, to carry it out.
At the time, Allen was in prison, convicted of the murder in 1974 of Mary Sue Kitts. California did not have a death penalty statute at that time.
Kitts, the girlfriend of Allen’s son, Kenneth, was found strangled to death after telling the owners of a market in Fresno that Allen’s gang had burglarized their store. Schletewitz was the son of those store owners, and he had testified against Allen in the Kitts case.
According to prosecutors, Allen, who was seeking a retrial in the Kitts case, paid Hamilton to kill Schletewitz and others potential witnesses. According to testimony, Hamilton went to the store, Fran’s Market, with a sawed-off shotgun, ordered Schletewitz and three other store employees to lie on the floor and then shot all four. One employee, Joe Rios, was shot in the face but survived and testified at the trial.
Hamilton was arrested during a liquor store robbery a week after the murders. When he was captured, police found that he had the names and addresses of seven others Allen wanted killed. Hamilton also was sentenced to death. Kenneth Allen, who provided the shotgun to Hamilton, received a life term for his role in the crime, as did his girlfriend Connie Barbo.