Alabama officials on Thursday canceled a lethal injection of a man convicted in a 1999 workplace shooting due to concerns about time and difficulty in accessing inmate’s veins.
Jon Hamm, the Alabama prison commissioner, said prison officials called off the execution after deciding that “the veins of prisoner Arthur Miller cannot be accessed according to our protocol” before the midnight deadline for the execution to begin. Hamm said Miller was returned to his cell in the South Alabama prison.
The stay of execution came three hours after a divided US Supreme Court cleared the way for the execution to begin. The 5-4 overturned an injunction issued after Miller’s attorneys said the state had lost his paperwork requesting that he be executed using hyponixaemia, a method legally available to him but not used before in the United States.
Miller, 57, was convicted of murdering three people in 1999 in a workplace rampage, and sentenced to death.
This is an urgent news update. The previous story for the Associated Press follows below.
ATMORE, Ala. (AFP) – Alabama can move forward Thursday night with a lethal injection to an inmate convicted in the 1999 workplace shooting, overturning two lower court rulings that sided with the convicted man and his order for another infraction, the divided US Supreme Court said. Execution method.
The 5-4 decision overturned rulings by the Eleventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and a federal judge that lethal injection could not proceed after Alan Miller’s attorneys said the state had lost his paperwork calling for his execution using hyponixemia, a legal method. Available but never used in the US
Miller, 57, was convicted of murdering three people in 1999 in a workplace rampage, and sentenced to death. A judge blocked the state’s implementation plan earlier this week.
Miller testified that he handed over the papers four years earlier and chose hypoxia in nitrogen as his method of execution, placing it in a slot in his cell door at Holman Correctional Facility for the prison worker to collect.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge R. Austin Havecker Jr. issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the state from killing Miller by any means other than hypoxia, after finding it “significantly likely” that Miller “filed a timely election filing despite From that state says he doesn’t have any physical record of the form.”
The Supreme Court ruling on Thursday evening overturned the order at the request of the state. The judges raised the residency period around 9 p.m., giving the state a three-hour window to begin the execution before the death warrant expires at midnight. Execution of Joe Nathan James in July It took more than three hours to start work after the state faced difficulties in setting up an intravenous line.
Although Alabama permitted nitrogen hypoxia as an execution method, it has never executed anyone in this manner and the state’s prison system has not finished its use of capital punishment.
Nitrogen hypoxia is a proposed method of implementation that induces death by forcing the inmate to breathe only nitrogen, thus depriving him of the oxygen needed to maintain bodily functions. It is authorized as an execution method in three states but no state has attempted to execute an inmate by the untested method. Alabama officials told the judge that they are working to finalize the protocol.
Many countries have struggled to purchase execution drugs in recent years after US and European pharmaceutical companies began banning their products from being used in lethal injections. This has led some to search for alternative methods.
When Alabama approved nitrogen hypoxia as an implementation method in 2018, state law gave inmates brief period to designate it as an implementation method. Miller testified that he chose nitrogen when the form was handed out to death row because he hates needles.
“That the state is not yet ready to execute anyone by hypoxia of nitrogen does not mean that it will harm the state or the public to respect Miller’s timely election of nitrogen hypoxia. On the contrary, if no injunction is issued, Miller will be permanently deprived of his choice. in how he died–a choice given to him by the Alabama legislature.”
Miller received visits from family members and a lawyer Thursday as he waited to see if his execution would proceed. The prison regime said he was given a tray of meatloaf, chocowagon steak, pasta and french fries.
Prosecutors said Miller, a delivery truck driver, murdered colleagues Lee Holdbrooks and Scott Yancey at a business in a Birmingham suburb, then drove off to shoot former supervisor Terry Jarvis at a company where Miller previously worked. Each man was shot multiple times and Miller was arrested after a highway chase.
The trial testimony indicated that Miller believed that men were spreading rumors about him, including that he was gay. A psychiatrist hired by the defense found Miller to have severe mental illness, but also said that Miller’s condition was not bad enough to be used as a basis for a defense of insanity under state law.
This story has been corrected to show that the last execution in Alabama was in July.