SANTA FE, N.M., Nov. 26— In a dramatic Thanksgiving Eve move to thwart his successor, Gov. Toney Anaya of New Mexico today commuted the death sentences of all five men awaiting execution in the state, saying the penalty was ”inhumane, immoral and anti-God.”

Lawyers said it was believed to be the first mass reprieve since Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller of Arkansas commuted the death sentences of all 15 inmates awaiting execution in 1970.

Todays action came just five weeks before the Democratic Governor is to complete his four years in office, during which he stayed all pending executions. ”My personal beliefs do not allow me to permit the execution of an individual in the name of the state,” he said minutes after signing executive orders reducing the sentences to life imprisonment.

He added that to leave office without acting would assure the execution of one or more of the five men and ”for me to simply walk away now will make me as much an accomplice as others who would participate in their execution.”

His Republican successor, Garrey Carruthers, had campaigned heavily on the crime issue and had said, ”The first thing I want to see on my desk after I’m elected Governor is the paperwork necessary to restart the death penalty.”

Mr. Carruthers denounced Mr. Anaya, saying: ”I personally asked the Governor, in a recent private conversation, not to take this action and to leave implementation of the capital punishment statute to my administration. I believe a Governor is duty-bound to implement the law or aggressively seek to change the law. Until today the incumbent chose to do neither. We should, and I will, uphold New Mexico’s capital punishment law.”

He added that he would seek to determine if the action could be challenged in court. Aides to Mr. Carruthers and the Attorney General-elect, Hal Stratton, conferred today to see if there was any legal ground to reverse Mr. Anaya’s action.

But few lawyers saw any chance of that.

”He’s on pretty solid ground,” said Paul Bardacki, the Attorney General of New Mexico, adding that it would be a ”tough legal row to hoe” to upset the action. He said the power of pardon given the governors of most states had long been interpreted by courts to include reducing penalties.

However, Mr. Bardacki said that he thought New Mexicans would be shocked by the action and that there might be a move to restrict the Governor’s pardon authority by amendment to the State Constitution. ”I do not believe this action was good for the criminal justice system of New Mexico,” he said.

Mr. Anaya’s move provided a rare bit of encouragement for the foes of capital punishment, who have become discouraged by the quickening pace of executions. There have been 66 executions in the United States since the death penalty was reinstated by the Supreme Court in 1976, 34 of them in the last two years.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, as of Oct. 1 there were 1,789 men and women on death row in the 37 states that have the death penalty. This population grows by about 250 a year, and the governor in each state has the power to commute sentences. New York has no death penalty, and no one has been executed in the state since 1963. In March, Governor Cuomo vetoed a bill that would have restored the death penalty for defendants who murdered police officers and prison guards, contract killers and inmates serving life who killed in prison. In New Jersey, where the law provides execution by lethal injection, 21 inmates were on death row in October. Connecticut has a death penalty law but no prisoners facing a death sentence. Reaction Is Mixed

In Washington, Ira Glasser, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, called the New Mexico action ”a major act of moral and political greatness, which will resound in our society and around the world.” Mara Taub, spokesman for the Committee to Stop Executions, a New Mexico group, applauded Governor Anaya’s ”refusal to continue the cycle of violence.”

But the general reaction in New Mexico was not so positive, and Mr. Anaya today was surrounded by an unusually heavy cordon of bodyguards.

Mr. Anaya said he had originally planned to commute the sentences to life without possiblity of parole but had changed his mind because New Mexico has no such sentence and he feared it might form the basis for a legal challenge to his orders. Under law, a life sentence means an absolute minimum of 30 years here, but Mr. Anaya said it was extremely unlikely any of the murderers would ever be set free. Former Pilot in Vietnam

The five are: William Wayne Gilbert, 37 years old, a former pilot in Vietnam, who was convicted of rape, kidnapping and first-degree murder of an Albuquerque woman. He was scheduled to die by lethal injection Jan. 16. He has been convicted of three other murders, including his wife’s. Richard Reynaldo Garcia, 31, serving time for robbery, jail escape and the murder of a prison guard. His execution date was Jan. 1. Michael Anthony Guzman, 24, convicted of raping and murdering a coed at the Univerity of New Mexico in 1981. Joel Lee Compton, 33, convicted of murdering an Albuquerque policeman. He is the one who would be eligible for parole at 65. Eddie Lee Adams, 24, convicted of the rape and strangulation murder of an 80-year-old Clovis, N.M., woman. [Ed Note: Benjamin A. Gonzalea and Stephen D Aarons were trial defense counsel for Adams]

Mr. Anaya coupled his action with a call for greater aid to the victims of violent crime and for wider efforts to eliminate child abuse, racism and other root causes of crime.

The last person to be executed in New Mexico was David Cooper Nelson in 1960. Since the penalty was restored, seven have been sentenced to death, two reversed by the courts. Mr. Anaya reprieved the five others. —- PHILADELPHIA STAY OF EXECUTION PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 26 (AP) – A 35-year-old man convicted of murdering an off-duty police officer and a bicyclist in separate shootings won a court order today, delaying Tuesday’s scheduled execution.

Judge James Cavanaugh of the State Superior Court granted the stay to Leslie C. Beasley, pending appeal.

There have been no executions in Pennsylvania since 1962, and of 75 death row inmates,, only Mr. Beasley faced a current death warrant

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