Robert Moorman, who was sentenced to death for murdering and dismembering his own mother, receiving Communion just before being executed on Wednesday morning, and told the Deacon he would “repeat Jesus’ name in my heart” as he was being put to death.
The Republic is reporting that Moorman, 63, died by lethal injection at 10:33 a.m. on February 29 at the Arizona State Prison Complex-Florence. His last words were an apology to his family and to the eight year-old victim of a crime he committed in 1972.
Just before he died, Moorman met with a Catholic deacon, Ed Sheffer of the Diocese of Tucscon, and told him that he was “ready to go home.”
Sheffer claims that after taking communion, Moorman told him “I trust God” and said he planned to repeat the name of Jesus in his heart as the warden gave him a lethal injection of barbiturates.
Witnesses say during the execution, he rocked his head back and forth, looking at the witnesses and then into the nearby control room. After issuing a deep huff, he fixed his gaze on the ceiling “as the light ran out of his eyes.”
Moorman’s death took place only a few hundred yards away from where he murdered his mother in 1984. He was 35 at the time and serving nine years to life for kidnapping and sexually assaulting an eight year-old girl. He was given a 72 hour “compassionate furlough” to be with his 74 year-old mother, with whom he was said to have been having sex for decades.
Staying in the Blue Mist Motel across the street from the prison, the two apparently quarreled after which time he beat and then suffocated her with a pillow. Panicking, he told investigators that he “dissected” her, flushed her fingers down the motel toilet and dumped her head and dismembered body in garbage cans around Florence.
During his trial, Moormann attempted to convince jurors that he was insane, but they didn’t believe him and a Pinal County Superior Court judge sentenced him to death.
One of his last words before dying on Wednesday was to ask for forgiveness for his heinous crimes. “I hope that this will bring closure and they can start the healing now,” he said. “And I just hope they will forgive me in time.”
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1. What is the Church’s stance regarding capital punishment? (See Catechism No. 2267)
2. List some of the reasons why authorities may have to resort to capital punishment? (See Catechism No. 2265-2266)
3. Why does Pope John Paul II say that the need for capital punishment in today’s society is almost nonexistent? (See No. 56 in Evangelium Vitae)
4. With the grace of God, forgiveness of some of the most heinous crimes is forgivable. This website contains numerous stories of people who forgave the unthinkable. Read these stories and discuss.
5. What is your personal opinion of the death penalty?