One of Idaho’s eight death row inmates is nearing the end of his legal appeals, and that could prompt prison officials to prepare for his execution before the end of the year.
64-year-old Gerald Pizzuto was convicted of murder for the 1985 beating deaths of a woman and her nephew at a remote Idaho County cabin.
Pizzuto’s appeal has focused on whether he has shown that he is intellectually disabled, since federal law prohibits the execution of people with intellectual disabilities. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last year upheld a lower court’s ruling that Pizzuto failed to show he met the criteria to be considered intellectually disabled, and Pizutto’s attorneys asked the full 9th Circuit to consider the matter. The appellate court refused, and now his attorneys have until March 30th to file a petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the case.
While it’s difficult to estimate how long the Supreme Court would take to decide whether to consider Pizzuto’s case, his attorneys say the legal fight is likely nearing its end.
The defense has been preparing to file a petition for clemency, a formal request made to the Idaho Commission of Pardons and Parole to change a death sentence to life in prison or to otherwise grant a death row inmate amnesty. (AP)