Arizona set to execute killer who showed no remorse

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 25, 2012 8:44 AM
Arizona set to execute killer who showed no remorse

By David Schwartz

PHOENIX (Reuters) - A defiant Arizona killer who asked for no mercy, shunned a clemency hearing and railed against immigrants in his 1993 sentencing is set to be executed on Wednesday for kidnapping and killing a Hispanic community college student.

Thomas Kemp, 63, is scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection at 10 a.m. local time inside the state prison in Florence, about 60 miles southeast of Phoenix, an Arizona Department of Corrections spokesman said.

Kemp was sentenced to death in July 1993 for, along with an accomplice, snatching Hector Soto Juarez from outside his Tucson apartment, taking him to a mine northwest of the city, and forcing him to disrobe. Juarez was shot fatally in the head.

The former trailer park maintenance man has consistently showed no remorse about the killing, refusing to attend a hearing this month by the Arizona Board of Execution Clemency. He branded the proceeding a "dog and pony show."

At his 1993 sentencing, Kemp said his only regret was not killing an accomplice and unleashed a tirade against Mexican immigrants and the legal system, saying his victim was "beneath my contempt."

"If more of them wound up dead, the rest of them would soon learn to stay in Mexico, where they belong," Kemp said at his sentencing, according to court documents. "I spit on the law and all those who serve it.

There are no outstanding appeals pending with any court, officials said.

According to court testimony, Kemp and his partner, Jeffrey Logan, set the crimes in motion by buying a .380 semiautomatic handgun from a pawn shop days before the abduction. Late on July 11, 1992, the men took Juarez from the apartment parking lot.

At midnight, the two withdrew $200 with Juarez's bank card and drove him to the Silverbell Mine area. Kemp walked his victim 50 to 70 feet from the vehicle, made him take off his clothes and then shot him twice, testimony showed.

Kemp and Logan drove to Flagstaff, Arizona, where they sold their now repainted vehicle and bought another gun. The two then kidnapped a couple and forced them to drive to Durango, Colorado, where the husband and wife were sexually assaulted.

The couple escaped after driving to Denver, and Kemp and Logan soon separated. Logan was arrested after contacting Tucson police about the Juarez murder. Kemp was taken into custody at a homeless shelter in Tucson.

Kemp was convicted of first-degree murder, kidnapping and armed robbery.

(Editing By Tim Gaynor and Vicki Allen)