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Condemned prisoner Carey Dean Moore has told the Nebraska Board of Pardons in his application for a full pardon that since the state, in more than 37 years, has been unsuccessful in carrying out his execution, it apparently does not want to put him to death. 

That's in spite of the fact that he hasn't filed any appeals in more than 10 years, Moore said. 

"Therefore, since they are either lazy or incompetent to do their jobs or both, I should receive a full pardon,” he wrote in his application for hearing. 

The state has not executed a condemned prisoner in more than 20 years, but this year has notified both Moore and Jose Sandoval of the lethal injection drugs that would be used if they are executed. 

The Nebraska Board of Pardons will meet at 10 a.m. Tuesday to consider setting a commutation hearing for Moore, a prisoner on death row since 1980 for whom Attorney General Doug Peterson has requested an execution warrant. 

Moore, 60, has received two stays of execution in the past 11 years. In 1979 he killed Reuel Van Ness Jr. during a robbery of his cab, then five days later killed another cab driver, Maynard Helgeland, to prove he could take a man's life "all by himself." 

Steven Helgeland, of Rapid City, South Dakota, one of Maynard Helgeland's sons, said in an email to the Journal Star that after 39 years, an execution date and the state of Nebraska's failure to put Moore to death, it either needs to get it done or commute his sentence to life in prison "and get him off the front page of the paper and out of the news.

"My faith that Nebraska will do either is zero," Steven Helgeland wrote.

On Monday, Peterson submitted a sworn statement to the Supreme Court saying there were no stays of execution or pending federal court proceedings on Moore. He told the court Moore had the pending application with the Board of Pardons, and the death sentence can't be carried out until the court rules on the application. 

Members of the Board of Pardons who would rule on Moore's application are Gov. Pete Ricketts, Attorney General Peterson and Secretary of State John Gale.

Former boards have in recent years only commuted life sentences for murder convictions, the most recent in 2010, 2012 and 2013. 

Moore's application for a hearing is being considered along with 21 requests by others for pardons or commutation hearings for crimes ranging from income tax evasion to child sexual assault, driving under the influence, first-degree murder and others. 

It is also considering a commutation hearing for first-degree murderer Mario Escamilla, who has been serving a life sentence for 31 years for the murder of a Lincoln man. 

Nebraska's death row inmates

Reach the writer at 402-473-7228 or

On Twitter @LJSLegislature. Reporter Lori Pilger contributed to this story.


State government reporter

JoAnne Young covers state government, including the Legislature and state agencies, and the people they serve.

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