Zane Michael Floyd is on death row for the murders of four people at a Nevada grocery store in 1999. File Photo courtesy of the Nevada Department of Corrections
Aug. 10 (UPI) — Lawyers for a Nevada death row prisoner convicted of murdering four people at a grocery store in 1999 filed court documents Tuesday requesting clemency for their client.
The public defenders asked for Zane Floyd’s death sentence to be commuted to life in prison without parole citing new evidence detailing his “severe mental impairments,” according to a news release.
“Had the jury been presented with this information, one or more jurors may have voted to spare him from execution,” the release said.
Floyd was sentenced to death for the 1999 murders of four employees at a Las Vegas supermarket — Lucy Tarantino, Thomas Darnell, Chuck Leos and Dennis “Troy” Sargent. He also was found guilty of injuring a fifth employee and sexually assaulting a woman at his home before the shootings.
The clemency petition said the jury that sentenced Floyd to death didn’t hear testimony that he had fetal alcohol spectrum disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder developed as a result of his “violent upbringing” and made worse during his time serving as a U.S. Marine.
Floyd’s attorneys said his stepfather was violent with him when he was a child and his mother, adding that Floyd “escaped the family home by joining the military.” Additionally, they cited neuroscience research saying Floyd’s FASD meant his brain development lagged behind that of his peers.
“Given Mr. Floyd’s diagnosis of FASD, which is recognized as functionally equivalent to intellectual disability, his young age at the time of the crime, and his PTSD, he should never have been eligible for the death penalty,” defense attorney Brad Levenson said.
“Mr. Floyd deserves to be able to present this evidence to the Board of Paroles.”
Floyd was previously scheduled to be executed the week of July 26, 2021, but a federal judge postponed the date to give time for a review of Nevada’s never-before-used combination of lethal injection drugs.
Nevada’s Department of Corrections filed court documents earlier this month detailing its new lethal injection protocol. Under the new lethal injection protocol, Nevada plans to use fentanyl or alfentanil, painkillers; ketamine, an anesthetic; cisatracurium, a paralytic; and potassium chloride or potassium acetate, which cause cardiac arrest. Under an alternative three-drug cocktail, the state would drop the use of cisatracurium.