Kenneth McKague, who had been on Nevada's death row longer than any other inmate, died Tuesday morning of natural causes.
McKague was sentenced to death in August 1979 for the murder of a man and his wife during the robbery of the downtown Reno motel they managed. William and Irene Henry were bound and gagged, then made to kneel in the office of the motel during the Dec. 21 1978 robbery. McKague then shot them both in the back of the head from less than 6 inches away.
McKague was sentenced to death for the two murders and also ordered to serve consecutive sentences for robbery and burglary.
Prison officials said McKague died of lung cancer at Nevada's maximum security prison outside of Ely shortly after 7 a.m. He was 46.
McKague's death leaves Edward T. Wilson as senior among the remaining 85 members of Nevada's death row. Wilson was sentenced to death Dec. 14, 1979, for the murder of Reno police undercover drug investigator James Hoff.
Next in line is John Mazzan, who was convicted in January 1980 of murdering Richard Minor, son of a Reno judge. But Mazzan's conviction is facing a stiff court challenge by defense lawyers who presented evidence the Washoe District Attorney's office 20 years ago hid evidence supporting Mazzan's claim two drug dealers murdered Minor.
The only woman on Nevada's death row is Priscilla Ford, who was convicted April 29, 1982 of Reno's "Thanksgiving Day Massacre." Ford drove her car onto the tourist-crowded sidewalks of downtown Reno Nov. 27 1980, deliberately hitting as many people as she could.
Before she was stopped, she killed six and seriously injured more than 20 others.