Nevada mass killer wants U.S. Supreme Court to block execution
LAS VEGAS — A Nevada inmate who is fighting execution after being convicted of killing four people and wounding a fifth with a shotgun at a Las Vegas supermarket wants the U.S. Supreme Court to take up his appeal.
Days after losing at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, attorneys for Zane Michael Floyd filed documents Wednesday saying they’ll ask the nation’s highest court to decide “substantial issues” about whether heavy alcohol use by Floyd’s mother before his birth resulted in personality disorders that prompted him to kill. The high court can choose not to take the case.
Floyd, 44, is an ex-Marine who said he joined the military and later committed the murders in 1999 because he always wanted to know what it was like to kill someone. He is housed at the state prison in Ely.
Brad Levenson, an assistant federal public defender handling Floyd’s appeal, declined to comment.
Prosecutors in the office of Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford did not immediately respond to messages.
Jurors heard Floyd confess in 2001 and saw security video of him wearing camouflage clothing, stalking and shooting employees at an Albertson’s market near his home. He was arrested after an eight-minute standoff with police during which he pointed the shotgun at his head before surrendering.
Floyd also was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman hours before the supermarket attack, then letting her go after telling her he planned to kill the first 19 people he saw that morning.
Floyd’s request for a last-step appeal followed a decision Monday by a three-judge appeals court panel in San Francisco rejecting his bid for a new trial.
Court filings say he was interviewed by psychiatrists, psychologists and a consultant and was diagnosed with childhood attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and substance abuse.
The appellate decision put Floyd atop the list for lethal injection in Nevada, where capital punishment is the law but the state has not carried out an execution since 2006.
Plans to execute twice-convicted murderer Scott Raymond Dozier became moot a year ago when he hung himself in his prison cell. Dozier had declared he wanted to die, but his execution was called off twice amid legal challenges of a three-drug combination the state planned to use and by drug companies suing to block use of their products in an execution.
The appeals court declined to decide if Nevada’s protocol for carrying out lethal injection is legal.
The judges did say they agreed with the Nevada Supreme Court that a trial prosecutor should not have referred to Floyd’s crime as “the worst massacre in the history of Las Vegas,“ at the time.
In 2017, Las Vegas saw the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, when a gunman opened fire from a high-rise casino hotel into an open-air music festival, killing 58 people and injuring hundreds. The shooter killed himself before police arrived, and authorities reported finding no clear motive for his rampage.