94-Year-Old Condemned Man Dies of Old Age

Viva Leroy Nash was the oldest death row inmate in the country
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 15, 2010 5:52 AM CST
This undated photo provided by the Arizona Department of Correction shows Viva Leroy Nash, the oldest death row inmate in the US who died of natural causes at age 94 on Friday.   (AP Photo/Arizona Department of Correction)

(Newser) – Viva Leroy Nash, the oldest death row inmate in America, died of natural causes Friday at age 94. Nash was condemned in 1983 for shooting a store clerk after escaping from prison, but he fended off execution with numerous appeals—prosecutors were appealing to the Supreme Court against the latest, in which a federal court ruled that Nash might be mentally incapable of assisting in his defense.

Nash was a career criminal, who was first imprisoned for armed robbery in 1930 at age 15. He later spent 25 years in jail for shooting a police officer in 1947, and then in 1977 earned two consecutive life sentences for robbery and murder in Salt Lake City. He escaped in 1982, and was next heard from in Phoenix, where he shot and killed a coin store employee, the crime that earned him his death sentence.

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