San Francisco The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal Monday from a 76-year-old convicted killer who argued that he was too old and feeble to be executed.
The ruling cleared the way for Clarence Ray Allen - legally blind, nearly deaf and in a wheelchair - to be executed by injection early today for a triple murder he ordered from behind bars to silence witnesses to another killing.
Allen, whose birthday was Monday, stood to become the oldest person executed in California - and the second-oldest put to death nationally - since the Supreme Court allowed capital punishment to resume in 1976.
He raised two claims never before endorsed by the high court: that executing a frail old man would violate the U.S. Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment, and that the 23 years he spent on death row were unconstitutionally cruel as well.
The high court rejected all three of his requests for a stay of execution, about 10 hours before he was to be put to death.