Corrections & Clarifications: Ted Price was a former longtime boyfriend of Aaron Gunches' girlfriend. The relationship was described incorrectly in a previous version of the article.
The Arizona Supreme Court has ordered the state to respond by Wednesday to a man on death row who is requesting to be executed. In a motion filed on November 25, Aaron Gunches asked the state supreme court to issue a death warrant, "so that justice may be lawfully served and give closure to the victim's family."
Gunches was sentenced to death for the 2002 murder of Ted Price, who, according to the Arizona Attorney General's Office, was an ex-husband of Gunches’ girlfriend at the time. Court records show the two were never married but had been in a long-term relationship. Gunches kidnapped and shot Price multiple times in a desert off the Beeline Highway.
Gunches pled guilty to kidnapping and first degree murder in 2004, and has consistently waived his right to counsel, mitigation, and post conviction litigation.
The Arizona State Supreme Court responded to Gunches' motion on Nov. 30, giving the state until Dec. 7 to respond.
Justice Kathryn King said Gunches, who is now 51, would then have until Dec. 20 to respond. The court would not likely make any decisions until after that time.
If the state were to seek a warrant, and the court were to grant it, the execution date would be set for 35 days after the approval. That means that the state could not execute Gunches while Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich and Gov. Doug Ducey are in office.
Instead, the timing means Attorney General-elect Kris Mayes and Gov.-elect Katie Hobbs would be responsible for executing Gunches.
A consultant for the Mayes transition team said she would need to learn more about the case, and did not feel comfortable commenting now. Mayes previously told The Republic "The death penalty is the law of Arizona. Any attorney general takes an oath to faithfully enforce the law."
"We need to take some time to assess how the death penalty has worked, and make sure that this is done legally and correctly," Mayes said in October.
Neither Brnovich's office nor the Hobbs transition team immediately responded to requests for comment.
There are currently 110 prisoners on death row in Arizona. Gunches is one of 21 who have exhausted their appeals.
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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Man on Arizona death row requests execution