Nevada Supreme Court rejects inmate’s request to die
November 26, 2004
The state Supreme Court has denied a Clark County inmate’s request to be put to death.
In his appeal, Byron E. Crutcher said he would rather be killed than continue serving his life sentence, saying “life in prison under the habitual offender sentence for nonviolent crime is cruel and unusual punishment.”
Crutcher was convicted of robbery of a person older than 65 and was classified as a habitual criminal because of prior offenses.
He first petitioned District Judge Nancy Saitta to order him to be executed by the state. She denied the appeal.
The Supreme Court rejected his appeal Wednesday, saying “no statute or rule of court” would permit the court to change his sentence to death.
Crutcher, who has filed several court motions, said he cannot receive a fair hearing. His said his crime was only pick-pocketing and accused the state of turning it into a felony.
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Because of his Mormon beliefs, Crutcher, 48, said he is prevented from committing suicide.
Crutcher, who is incarcerated at the Southern Desert Correctional Center, denied he was a violent person and “wishes to be put to death rather than spend his life in prison for nonviolent crime.”
In another ruling Wednesday, the court rejected the appeal of Frederick L. Steese, who is serving a life term without the possibility of parole. He was convicted in 1995 of the stabbing death of Gerald Soulos, who ran a pet poodle show at Circus Circus.
Steese maintained he was not informed of the sentencing options when he pleaded guilty to murder and other charges.
The Supreme Court said Steese filed his petition more than five years after the court had rejected his first appeal. It said that petition failed to meet the deadline of one year.
The court also rejected the appeal of Brian Sims, who was convicted when he entered an Alford plea to second-degree murder in Clark County. Sims claimed he had received new evidence from one of the witnesses to the murder. But the court said Sims filed his petition more than three years after his conviction, which is past the deadline.
Information from: Las Vegas Review-Journal, http://www.lvrj.com