Viva Leroy Nash is 93 years old and the oldest death row inmate in the nation. He has been awaiting execution since 1984. Writing in the Phoenix New Times, Paul Rubin tells the story of this career criminal and homicidal curmudgeon who recently wrote to the paper outlining some of his thoughts about who should or should not be put to death by the State. From the pen (or prison-issued pencil) of Viva Leroy Nash:
There are obviously many weird people in our world, with twisted minds, that have a tendency to not only kill helpless people, but often do it in a despicable manner. Often, psychos turn into insane serial killers who should be promptly eliminated, not tortured to suicide, as I’ve seen happen.
Genuine serial killers should be eliminated by execution quickly, but not by prison guards or their contemporaries. Same for adults or homos who kill children. Or Mormons who habitually force children into marriage.
Usually I’d say oldsters like Nash have earned the right to opine on such things — being… old, and all — but I’m not so sure about Mr. Nash.
For “Nation’s Oldest Death Row Inmate Will Never Be Executed,” Rubin interviewed a witness to a murder committed by Nash. She detailed Nash’s cold, cruel execution of a young man named Greg West on November 3, 1982:
This was after Mr. Nash shot Greg the first time. I was looking at the barrel of the gun and, for some reason, I flashed on my daughter, who was around 9 at the time.
He pulled the trigger, but it didn’t fire, and I dropped down under the table. I still don’t understand why Nash didn’t come around and kill me.
Greg was on the floor there bleeding. He was saying, ‘Please, God. Please, God, don’t shoot me.’ I was trying to stay still. Then Nash fired into Greg twice more. I watched him die. He was like a brother to me and to my husband.
Kind of puts Nash’s thoughts on execution, etc. in perspective, doesn’t it?
For Paul Rubin’s fascinating narrative about the life and crimes of a man who talks like a “grizzled old coot” but kills like Cormac McCarthy’s fictional Anton Chigurh, just click the link in brackets below.