This Hour: Latest Arizona news, sports, business and entertainment

This Hour: Latest Arizona news, sports, business and entertainment

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Arizona execution rekindles death penalty debate

FLORENCE, Ariz. (AP) - The nation's third execution in six months to go awry rekindled the debate over the death penalty and handed potentially new evidence to those building a case against lethal injection as cruel and unusual punishment.

Joseph Rudolph Wood took nearly two hours to die and gasped for about 90 minutes during his execution in Arizona on Wednesday. The execution took so long that his lawyers had time to file an emergency appeal while it was ongoing. The Arizona Supreme Court also called an impromptu hearing on the matter and learned of his death during the discussions.

It is the third prolonged execution this year in the U.S., including one in Ohio in which an inmate gasped in similar fashion for nearly a half-hour. An Oklahoma inmate died of a heart attack in April, minutes after prison officials halted his execution because the drugs weren't being administered properly.

Gov. Jan Brewer said later that she was ordering a full review of the state's execution process, saying she's concerned by how long it took for the administered drug protocol to kill Wood.


Phoenix car wash mogul enters plea in hiring case

PHOENIX (AP) - The owner of a metro Phoenix car-wash chain accused of immigration fraud in its hiring practices has pleaded guilty to committing identity fraud.

U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Cosme Lopez says Danny Hendon pleaded guilty Thursday morning to the felony charge.

Hendon had previously avoided prosecution while several lower-level managers have since entered guilty pleas. Some said at least one higher-up within Danny's Family Car Wash instructed them to rehire workers who had to be fired after a federal audit.

Lopez says Hendon acknowledges in the agreement that he "knowingly turned a blind eye" to the hiring of more than 200 unauthorized immigrants.

Hendon was released on his own recognizance.

The company announced Thursday that Hendon's daughter, Heather, will now serve as president.

Hendon is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 20.


Maricopa County has 1st West Nile death in 2014

PHOENIX (AP) - Maricopa County has recorded its first death in 2014 from the West Nile virus.

County health officials say the victim was a man in his early 60s who lived in a southeastern suburb of Phoenix. The man had underlying health issues.

The mosquito-carried West Nile virus can cause severe illness in people and horses, although only about 20 percent of those infected will develop any symptoms.

The symptoms are usually like the flu and include fever, headache, body aches, and muscle weakness. More severe symptoms can include inflammation of brain which can lead to paralysis or death.

Department of Health Director Bob England says it's important to remove standing water where mosquitoes like to bred.


Navajo judge orders joint trial in slush fund case

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) - A Navajo Nation judge has ruled that tribal council Speaker Johnny Naize and four current or former council delegates will stand trial together on bribery charges stemming from alleged improper use of a discretionary fund.

The Daily Times reports that District Judge Carol Perry's ruling Tuesday grants a motion by the special prosecutor in the cases of Naize, Delegate David L. Tom and former delegates George Arthur, Leonard Teller and Ernest D. Yazzie Jr.

Each defendant is accused of providing money to family members from the council's discretionary fund and of developing a back-and-forth system to receive funding.

The discretionary fund was intended to allow delegates to help tribal members facing emergencies or financial hardship.

Perry says the court lacks funding to conduct separate trials for the defendants.


Bill Thompson co-starred on 'Wallace and Ladmo'

PHOENIX (AP) - The man who played Wallace Snead on the "Wallace and Ladmo Show," a children's program that aired on Phoenix television for over three decades, has died.

Executive Producer Scott Davis of KPHO-TV says Bill Thompson died Wednesday after going into hospice care over the weekend for a debilitating disease. He was 82.

The comedy and cartoon show aired from 1954 to 1989 and was considered an institution in Phoenix.

Arizona governors regularly issued proclamations marking its five-year anniversaries, and the show featured appearances by such notables as Barry Goldwater, Mohammed Ali, Alice Cooper and Jack Benny.

KPHO General Manager Edward Munson Jr. called Thompson a "television treasure who brought joy and laughter into counteless Arizona homes."

Thompson's partner was Ladimir Kwiatkowski, who died in 1994. Weatherman Pat McMahon joined the show a few years into its run.

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