Arizona executes man for 1987 killing

July 19, 2011 at 3:51 PM
share with facebook
share with twitter

PHOENIX, July 19 (UPI) -- An Arizona killer was executed Tuesday after courts rebuffed his last-minute pleas to spare his life.

Thomas West, 52, was put to death by injection at 11 a.m. local time, The Arizona Republic reported. He did not have a last meal Monday and made no final statement. It was Arizona's fifth execution since October.

West was convicted of fatally beating Donald Bortle, who surprised him as he burglarized Bortle's home near Tucson in 1987.

West said he was drunk and on drugs and snapped because of post-traumatic stress disorder, a result of being battered and sexually abused as a child.

In recent days, the courts and the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency denied all of West's attorneys' motions using the PTSD issue.

In June 1987, West, then 28 and living in Kankakee, Ill., was visiting a friend in Tucson. They went to Bortle's trailer to see electronics Bortle was selling. West's friend bought a VCR, a video camera and a typewriter.

About two weeks later, West returned to break into the trailer and steal electronic goods, but Bortle surprised him. West tied him up with electrical cords, looted the trailer, stole his car, and left him for dead.

West had a prior manslaughter conviction in Illinois.

Related UPI Stories
Trending Stories