Killer who wanted to die is executed |

Killer who wanted to die is executed

Robert Charles Comer

FLORENCE, Ariz. ” A condemned killed who fought to drop his appeals, saying he owed it to his victims, was executed Tuesday by injection.

Robert Charles Comer, 50, was the first inmate put to death in Arizona since 2000. He had been convicted for a 1987 crime spree in which he killed a camper east of Phoenix and raped a woman in front of her boyfriend.

At a 2002 competency hearing, Comer admitted killing Larry Pritchard after eating a campfire dinner with the man. He said then that it was about time he paid for the crime.

“I killed Larry Pritchard. Stuck a gun in his ear and pulled the trigger, he’s dead,” Comer said, according to transcripts from the hearing. “An eye for an eye. I mean, I ended a whole bunch of innocent people’s lives and changed their lives forever. Even though they’re still alive, their lives are destroyed. I owe that to them. I owe it to myself, man. I was totally wrong.”

“I don’t know what everybody’s so scared about,” he added then. “Death is not that damn bad.”

Comer fought for seven years to be executed. He spent much of that time just proving he was competent to make the decision.

At his sentencing, he had been brought into a courtroom strapped to a wheelchair, bloodied, barely conscious and naked except for a towel on his lap after struggling with guards.

In prison, he was cited 43 times between 1988 and 2001 for infractions including making knives and shanks, fighting with prisoners and guards and setting fires in his cell.

About a dozen people demonstrated against the death penalty about a mile away from the prison entrance Tuesday.

Arizona has executed 86 people, 22 of them since resuming the death penalty in 1992.

Support Local Journalism