The pending execution of Clarence Ray Allen on Jan. 17 promises another doozy of a clemency case. Allen will be 76 on the execution date — the oldest man to be executed in the country in at least a half-century, according to his lawyers. Plus, he’s blind, diabetic and suffered a heart attack in September. Plenty of reasons weighing in favor of mercy.
On the minus side, Allen has been convicted of murdering four people and conspiring to kill six others — and the facts of the case call to mind Quentin Tarantino directing “The Sopranos.” Allen’s crimes were so heinous his death sentence was one of the very few affirmed by the Rose Bird court — Justice Joseph Grodin wrote the opinion. A few of the highlights:
When Allen telephoned his crime associates to learn if they’d carried out the execution of a 17-year-old girl, they explained they were in the process of strangling her. Allen said, “Do it,” and hung up. The strangulation was then completed.
To discourage one of those associates from snitching, Allen told the associate in front of his 5-year-old son that he was sure he “would like his kids to grow up without harm.”
Allen arranged three murders from prison, where he was once visited by his son, his daughter-in-law and their baby. They smuggled the photograph of a potential hit man out of the prison in the baby’s diaper.
Testifying in his own defense at trial, Allen said that “when a guy puts a rat jacket on himself, killing them would do them a favor.”
In sum, Allen makes Tookie Williams look like Barney the Dinosaur. If Williams didn’t merit clemency, it’s not likely Allen will either.
— Scott Graham