Abel Hidalgo – Latino, age 24

Sentenced to death in Maricopa County, Arizona
By: a judge after a unanimous jury recommendation by a vote of 12 to 0
Date of crime: 01/03/2001
Prosecution case/defense response: Abel Daniel Hidalgo killed Michael Cordova and Jose Rojas in a murder-for-hire. The victims were found in Cordova’s auto body shop.  While serving a life-sentence for the murder in Idaho and thinking that he might receive some leniency, Hidalgo confessed to the Arizona murders 10-years “cold.”  The prosecution gathered evidence that he was paid $1,000 by an unnamed individual to kill Cordova and that Rojas just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, attempting to pick up a steamer.  Rojas was shot first, to eliminate any witnesses and then Hidalgo shot Cordova before their bodies were found.  The jury never got the opportunity to hear the entire case, as Hidalgo changed his plea on the trial’s first day.  The sentencing phase took 3-weeks with 3-days of deliberations.
Sources: Maricopa County Attorney’s Office February 2015 Newsletter

Thomas Riley – white, age unknown

Sentenced to death in Maricopa County, Arizona
By: jury
Date of crime: 6/29/08
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Riley, his cellmate, and one other accomplice stabbed another prisoner and stabbed him 114 times. The three men wanted to become members of the prison gang, the Aryan Brotherhood, and murdering an inmate was part of the process of joining the gang. Riley did become a member of the Aryan Brotherhood. Eighteen months later, Riley wrote a letter detailing the entire murder and police officials intercepted it.
Sources: http://www.maricopacountyattorney.org/pdfs/annual-reports/2015-MCAO-Annual-Report.pdf; http://www.maricopacountyattorney.org/newsroom/newsletters/2016/2016-05-newsletter.html#topic6

Jasper Rushing – white, age 30

Sentenced to death in Maricopa County, Arizona
By: a jury
Date of crime: 09/10/2010
Prosecution case/defense response: While sharing a cell at an Arizona State Prison Complex-, Jasper Phillip Rushing, slit his cell-mate’s throat and castrated him after beating him, Shannon Palmer because he would not stop talking.  Palmer, 40, was mentally ill and serving a three year sentence for criminal damage, climbing a utility tower during a thunderstorm and/or shooting his gun at imaginary attackers.  Rushing was serving his sentence from a prior murder conviction in Yavapai County, where he killed his stepfather for allegedly raping a young family member, an allegation that never received any merit.  The Palmer family filed suit against the state claiming that the two should have never been placed in the same cell and that Rushing should not have had access to the razor he used to kill Palmer.
Sources: Arizona Republic (Phoenix, Arizona) 7/23/2015, 2015 WLNR 21806085; and 6/6/2012, WLNR 19143925; Phoenix New Times (Arizona) 7/24/2015