Scott Clabourne was sentenced to death by the State of Arizona for the murder of a woman. According to court documents Scott Clabourne and Larry Langston met the victim at a bar and would leave with her. The woman was brought to a home of Larry Langston where she was sexually assaulted, strangled and stabbed multiple times. Larry Langston would be convicted of murder and sentenced to life, Scott Clabourne was convicted and sentenced to death
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On the evening of September 18, 1980, Laura Webster, a University of Arizona student, was at the Green Dolphin Bar in Tucson with friends. She met Clabourne and Larry Langston at the bar and left with them. Clabourne and Langston then took Webster to the house of a friend of Langston. Ms. Webster was repeatedly raped and sodomized, then strangled and stabbed in the heart three times. Her body was dumped in an arroyo, where it was found the next morning. Langston pled guilty to murder and received a life sentence.
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The murder of Laura Webster at the hands of Clabourne, Larry Langston and Edward Carrico is undisputed and well documented in earlier decisions. See Clabourne I; Lewis. On the night of September 18, 1980, Webster, a twenty-two-year-old student at the University of Arizona, was approached by Clabourne and Langston at the Green Dolphin Bar in Tucson. According to Clabourne, they convinced Webster to leave with them by telling her they were going to a cocaine party. During the drive from the bar, Langston stopped the car, pulled Webster out, beat her and threw her back in the car. Webster pleaded with Clabourne to protect her. The men took Webster to a house where they forced her to remove her clothes and serve them drinks. She was repeatedly beaten and raped for approximately six hours. Webster continued to beg Clabourne for help. Eventually Clabourne strangled her with a bandanna. When she was nearly dead, he stabbed her twice with a knife, piercing her lung and heart. The men wrapped her body in a sheet and threw it from a bridge into the dry bed of the Santa Cruz River where it was found the next day.
¶ 3 Clabourne told Shirley Martin, among others, that he had killed a woman he had met in a bar. A year after the body was discovered, Martin informed police. In October 1981, Clabourne confessed to Tucson Police Detective Luis Bustamante.
¶ 4 Clabourne was found competent to stand trial by court-appointed psychiatrists Drs. John S. LaWall and Edward S. Gelardin. Because Clabourne had advanced an insanity defense, they also examined Clabourne’s mental state. Both testified at trial that he was legally sane at the time of the offense. Clabourne called Dr. Sanford Berlin, a psychiatrist who had treated him in 1975 for mental problems. Dr. Berlin said he was unable to determine what Clabourne’s state of mind had been when he committed the crimes.
¶ 5 At the sentencing hearing following Clabourne’s conviction, defense counsel suggested possible grounds for mitigation but gave the court no reasons to find them. In particular, counsel referred to the evidence of Clabourne’s mental health presented at trial. But at trial the psychiatrists testified in terms of legal sanity; they did not address mitigation. Ultimately, the trial judge found one aggravating circumstance: that the defendant had committed the offense in an especially heinous, cruel and depraved manner.