When the Supreme Court cleared the way for Alan Miller’s lethal injection on Thursday night, the triple killer spent several hours believing he was about to die. But when the time came, prison officials had difficulty accessing his veins and, with the midnight deadline approaching, the abrupt decision was made to stay the execution.
Miller, 57, was sentenced to death for murdering three men in a workplace shooting in 1999. The decision to halt the proceedings and send Miller back to his cell around 11:30 p.m. a few hours after the judges determined that the execution should continue. .
The Supreme Court overturned previous decisions blocking execution of the death sentence because of Miller’s request to die by suffocation via nitrogen hypoxia, an unproven method of execution that Alabama legalized in 2018. The state said it had no record of Miller ever. making such a request, but Miller insists that he signed a form asking to be killed by inhaling nitrogen gas because he is afraid of needles.
“Due to time constraints resulting from the delay in court proceedings, the execution was stayed once it was determined that the sentenced inmate’s veins could not be accessed in accordance with our protocol prior to the expiration of the death sentence. Alabama Corrections Commissioner John Hamm said. said, according to Associated Pressadding that “accessing the veins was taking a little longer than we expected.”
In 1999, delivery truck driver Miller shot and killed his colleagues Lee Holdbrooks and Scott Yancy in Birmingham. He then drove to a business where he had previously worked and killed his former supervisor, Terry Jarvis. He was approved after a high speed chase.
At trial, the court heard that Miller thought his victims were spreading rumors about him, including that he was gay. Although a psychiatrist concluded that Miller was delusional and had serious mental health problems, his condition was not serious enough to warrant an insanity defense under state law.
“Despite the circumstances that led to the cancellation of this execution, nothing will change the fact that a jury heard the evidence in this case and made a decision,” the Alabama governor said. Kay Ivey said in a statement, adding that the families of the victims were still grieving. “We all know very well that Michael Holdbrooks, Terry Lee Jarvis and Christopher Scott Yancy did not choose to die from bullets in the chest. Tonight, my prayers are with the families and loved ones of the victims as they are forced to continue reliving the pain of their loss.”
Although the execution was given the go-ahead on Thursday, critics questioned the Supreme Court’s 5-4 order. “Today is yet another clear example that when it comes to executions, what matters to this court is the outcome, legal or not,” said Robert Dunham, executive director of the nonprofit Death Penalty Information Center. profit. The New York Times. “That is not what a neutral arbitrator of the law does. That’s not what a legitimate court does.”