Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger gave a one-day reprieve today to a man set to be executed for the rape and murder of a Riverside teenager nearly 30 years ago.
Albert Greenwood Brown, 56, was set to be put to death by lethal injection Wednesday at San Quentin State Prison, in what would have been the first execution in California in nearly five years.
But the governor said an appeals court decision allowing the execution to be carried out would not take effect until Thursday, meaning Brown could not be put to death before 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, according to to a statement released by the governor’s press office.
Last Monday, a state appeals court panel in San Francisco overturned a moratorium on executions put in place in 2006, when a judge ruled that the standard protocol for lethal injections allowed for excruciating pain before death, making it an unconstitutional use of cruel and unusual punishment.
Brown has 10 days to appeal that decision.
Earlier today, Brown’s attorneys asked Marin County Superior Court Judge Verna Adams to issue a temporary restraining order suspending executions, but she denied the request.
Brown and another death row inmate had claimed in a lawsuit against the state that its adoption of new lethal injection procedures was improper.
U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel refused to block Brown’s execution last week, ruling the state had addressed the court’s concerns that the previous lethal injection procedure was unconstitutional.
Although Fogel gave Brown the option to chose whether he wanted to die by one drug or the state’s standard three-drug cocktail, his attorneys refused to make the choice.
Brown sexually assaulted and killed 15-year-old Susan Louise Jordan on Oct. 28, 1980. He grabbed the girl as she was walking to school on Victoria Avenue in Riverside, dragged her into an orange grove, tore off her clothes, raped her and strangled her with one of her own shoelaces.
Brown called the girl’s mother at home later that day and taunted her, saying, “You will never see your daughter again,” according to Chief Assistant District Attorney Bill Mitchell.
He was convicted in January 1982 of murder and forcible rape, with a great bodily injury allegation.
Brown had raped a 14-year-old girl almost exactly three years earlier. He pleaded guilty to that assault and was sentenced to four years in prison, but was paroled after serving less than half his term. He murdered Susan four months later.