Big Picture: Raymond Mata Case - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Big Picture: Raymond Mata Case

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He's been called a monster who butchered a three-year-old boy and fed his remains to a dog.

Raymond Mata was sentenced to die in 2000.

However, the state's high court has struck down the electric chair, saying it's right out of Frankenstein's lab, leaving no way to carry out Mata's punishment. 

Attorney General Jon Bruning said, "The Supreme Court decision, what it did is repealed out method but not our death penalty as a whole. We still have the death penalty but not a method."

While the courts have given Mata another chance, the people of Scottsbluff think it's one too many, according to veteran broadcaster Kevin Mooney.

"Most people here in this community would like Raymond Mata put to death tomorrow if that was possible. But the fact his case is being used as a death penalty challenge I would say that's not going to happen for a very long time," The KNEB News Director said.

That's because Mata's public defender from the State Commission on Public Advocacy has taken the case to the state supreme court. They agreed with his attorneys, saying "a civilized society needs to punish cruelty without practicing it."

The attorney general blasted the court for overstepping its bounds in its decision calling the electric chair cruel and unusual.

Bruning said, "My concern is not so much with the bad guy, Mr. Mata, if he feels a little pain at the end of life. That's not something I'm concerned with."

Lawmakers this week voted to keep the death penalty, but it could be next year before they replace the electric chair.  

Bruning said, "In January we're going to come back, at the latest, ask the legislature to put the method in there. I'm sure it'll be lethal injection. We'll find a constitutional way of doing it and
eventually Mata's going to get the penalty he deserves."

Broadcaster Kevin Mooney said it's the biggest case he's seen in 25 years, and says the folks of western Nebraska are ready to see the case end with Mata's execution. But he adds there's little chance of that happening for a very long time. 

Reporter's Notes by Steve White:
Mata was convicted of murdering three-year-old Adam Gomez, his girlfriend's son. He was later given the death penalty.

He's represented by the public defenders who serve in the Commission on Public Advocacy.

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