James Hubbard is the oldest person on Alabama's death row. Death penalty opponents have asked Gov. Bob Riley to have mercy on Hubbard, who is set to die by injection Thursday for killing a 62-year-old woman in 1977.
Riley's office had no immediate comment on the request Monday.
It was unclear when an inmate of Hubbard's age was last executed. Records from the Death Penalty Information Center show he would be the oldest U.S. prisoner put to death since executions resumed in 1977. The Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty said Hubbard would be the oldest person executed in the United States since 1941.
Lawyers for Hubbard argue that executing their client would be cruel and unusual, but the state is opposing any delay and contends Hubbard is competent for execution.
Psychological and medical tests showed that Hubbard suffers from dementia, hepatitis, diverticulitis, hypertension, acute back pain and is mildly retarded, according to papers filed by his lawyers with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
"Even if one supported the death penalty, it is difficult to understand what purpose James Hubbard's execution would serve," said David Elliott, a spokesman for the Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.
Hubbard was convicted in the murder of Lillian Montgomery, who was robbed and shot three times after befriending Hubbard. A court threw out Hubbard's initial conviction, but he was convicted again in 1982 and sentenced to death.
By Jay Reeves