Saturday, July 20, 2024

Governor Refuses to Carry out Arizona Execution of Aaron Gunches on April 6, 2023

Aaron Gunches, Arizona

Update: Monday, April 3, 2023

Aaron GunchesArizona has given Aaron Gunches an execution date of Thursday, April 6, 2023. Executions are carried out at the Central Unit of the Arizona State Prison Complex – Florence in Florence, Arizona.  Fifty-one-year-old Aaron is convicted of murdering Ted Price in December 2002. For the last 14 years, Aaron has been on Arizona’s death row.

Before this crime, Aaron had previously served two years for possession of drug paraphernalia.

In November 2002, Ted Price went to visit his ex-wife, Katherine Lecher, in Mesa, Arizona. After being there for about 10 days, Ted and Katherine began fighting. The fight turned violent, with Katherine hitting Ted in the face with a telephone. Katherine also told Ted to leave the apartment.

That night, Aaron Gunches came over. Gunches agree to take Ted to the bus station. One of Katherine’s roommates, Jennifer Garcia went with Gunches and Ted. At the bus station, Gunches claimed he did not have enough money for a bus ticket and instructed Jennifer to drive out of Mesa. Eventually, he had her turn onto a dirt path and towards an isolated desert area, where she stopped the car.

Gunches got out and began rummaging in the trunk. Ted got out of the car as well. Jennifer testified that she heard three popping sounds and saw Ted fall to the ground. She then heard another popping sound and saw Gunches standing beside Ted holding a gun.

Gunches got back into the car, telling her to drive back to Mesa. They stopped along the way to dispose of Ted’s belongings. Ted’s body was discovered a few days later. Police interviewed Katherine, Jennifer, and their third roommate. The third roommate told police that Gunches had confessed to her that he killed Ted.

In January 2003, Gunches was arrested after shooting Department of Public Safety Officer Robert Flannery. Flannery was wearing a bulletproof vest at the time and received minor injuries. The shooting triggered a manhunt and Gunches was eventually caught and arrested.

Gunches pled guilty to shooting Flannery and received a 21-year prison sentence. He then later pled guilty to kidnapping and murdering Ted Price. Gunches received a death sentence for Ted’s murder.

In November 2022, Gunches submitted a handwritten motion to the Arizona Supreme Court, asking that he be given an execution date. He later attempted to withdraw that request upon learning that the newly elected Arizona Attorney General planned to halt execution. An execution date was set, however, it is unlikely to be carried out. New Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs has stated that the execution will not be carried out, although it has not yet officially been called off. The Arizona Supreme Court recently ruled that state law did not require Governor Hobbs to proceed with a scheduled execution.

Please pray for peace for the family of Ted Price. Pray for Robert Flannery. Pray for strength for the family of Aaron Gunches. Please pray that if Aaron is innocent, lacks the competency to be executed, or should not be executed for any other reason, that evidence will be provided before his execution. Pray that Aaron may come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

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