Convicted double-murderer Gerald Pizzuto, Jr., is back on the docket to be scheduled for execution.

Last Thursday, Dec. 30, Governor Brad Little denied a recommendation by the Idaho Commission of Pardons and Parole to commute Pizzuto’s death sentences for the 1985 murders in Idaho County of Berta and Del Herndon.

A date is not yet set for carrying out the execution of Pizzuto, one of eight inmates on Idaho death row.

Pizzuto, 64, was sentenced to death in 1986 for killing Berta Herndon, 58, and her 37-year-old nephew, Del Herndon. Pizzuto was armed with a .22 caliber rifle with the intent of robbing the pair of gold prospectors in July 1985 at Ruby Meadows in Idaho County, north of McCall.

Little concluded commuting Pizzuto’s death sentences would be inappropriate.

“Pizzuto was convicted of robbery and four grisly murders, all committed within a year after his release from prison in Michigan for rape,” wrote Little in a Dec. 30 letter to commission executive director Ashley Dowell. “He killed Rita Drury, a grandmother, after binding her hands and feet, brutally assaulting her, and violating her in a disgusting and humiliating manner. He fatally shot John Ray Jones in the face at near point-blank range. At Ruby Meadows in Idaho, Pizzuto bound Berty and Del, gruesomely bludgeoned their heads repeatedly, and concealed their bodies in a shallow grave....”

“The severity of Pizzuto’s brutal, senseless and indiscriminate killing spree strongly warrants against commutation,” Little wrote.

In a 4-3 commission decision, the majority recommended granting commutation of Pizzuto’s sentences to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

“This decision is not based on any doubt or question about Mr. Pizzuto’s guilt or the horrific nature of his crimes,” according to a Dec. 30 decision of the majority issued by the commission. This recommendation is one of mercy due to Mr. Pizzuto’s current medical condition and evidence of his decreased intellectual functioning.” On Pizzuto’s condition, the commission noted his advanced terminal bladder cancer and other medical issues that have him confined to a wheelchair.

“Mr. Pizzuto has served 35 years in prison,” the commission wrote, “and his physical condition, as well as the fact that he will never be released from prison, leaves him as very little threat to others.”