World & Nation

Dear Diary: Arizona inmate wrote of the days before his execution

In the weeks before he was executed for strangling a man to death, Arizona inmate Robert Towery kept a diary.

His writings began Feb. 2, when he was transferred to a “death watch” cell in state prison, and ended Thursday, shortly before he was put to death by lethal injection at 11:26 a.m. The Associated Press described the execution -- and the events leading up to it.

Towery, 47, had been convicted of killing Mark Jones during a robbery in 1991; he was the second inmate put to death in Arizona in a two-week period.

Towery’s entries, some of which the Arizona Republic published, are striking in their banality.  He asked prison officials for conditioner, and there was none. A brush or comb? Nope. He couldn’t find the motivation to work out, either.


Towery looked for bits of humor, such as when he saw two correctional officers doze off. “Exactly who is watching whom?” he wrote. He joked about his new living quarters being cleaner than his old ones. “I have not seen a single roach, water bug, scorpion, stink beetle or spider. Woo-hoo!!”

His most interesting entries involve fellow death row inmate Robert Moormann, 63, who killed and dismembered his adoptive mother, Roberta, in 1984. Moormann’s lawyers had said she sexually abused him well into adulthood, and that he was mentally disabled, according to the AP.

“He is guilty, no doubt, but there is no way he is culpable in it. What I mean is, he should have been in a hospital from the very beginning,” Towery wrote. “His stepmother and what she did to him broke him in a way that made him a man-child. I liken him to Lenny in the old book ‘Of Mice and Men.’ ”

On Feb. 28, when Moormann was put to death, Towery wrote: “Bob is gone. May God forgive them.”


On the day of his own execution, Towery’s tone was surprisingly upbeat. “As this is my last entry,” he wrote to his attorneys, “I just want to say thank you. Thank you all for the kindness. Please give everyone my best and know that I will carry y’all on my lips to God.”

Then he signed his full name -- Robert Charles Towery -- and drew a picture of a floppy-eared dog.


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