Science

Alabama Won’t Attempt Lethal Injection Again On “Execution Survivor” Allen Eugene Miller, But It May Try New Method

death penalty alabama
In this August 5, 1999 file photo, officers escort murder suspect Allen Eugene Miller away from the Pelham City Jail in Alabama. Miller was sentenced to death after being convicted of a 1999 workplace rampage.

Dave Martin/AP


Montgomery, Alabama — Alabama will not seek another lethal injection date for an inmate whose September execution was halted because of problems setting up an intravenous line, according to the terms of a settlement agreement approved Monday. The state agreed to never again use lethal injection as an execution method to put Alan Eugene Miller to death.

Any future attempt to execute Miller would be carried out by nitrogen hypoxia, an execution method authorized in Alabama, but one that has never been used to execute the death penalty in the US, currently using nitrogen hypoxia. There is no protocol.

On Tuesday, US District Judge R. Austin Huffaker Jr. approved the settlement agreement in a lawsuit brought by Miller seeking to prevent another attempt at lethal injection. Miller argued that the state lost paperwork stating that they chose nitrogen hypoxia as their execution method and then tortured him during a failed execution attempt, At the time, Miller’s attorneys referred to him as “the only living execution survivor in the United States”.

allen-miller.jpg
An undated photo provided by the Alabama Department of Corrections shows inmate Allen Eugene Miller.

Alabama Department of Corrections via AP


Miller was to be executed by lethal injection on September 22, but the state IV aborted execution after unable to connect The line for the 351-pound prisoner. Miller said that when prison staff tried to find a vein, they pricked him with needles for over an hour and at one point left him hanging vertically as he was tied to a cane.

Alabama has acknowledged that there were problems with IV access during at least four executions since 2018. Three of them had to be stopped.

Earlier this month, the execution of Kenneth Eugene Smith was halted after the execution team tried for an hour to connect an IV line.

Last week, Smith’s attorney filed a lawsuit against the prison system, saying the state violated the US Constitution, various court orders and its own lethal injection protocol during the failed execution attempt earlier this month. Smith’s attorneys are asking a federal judge to forbid the state from making a second attempt to execute him, saying Smith was already “subjected to an increased level of pain and torture” the night of the failed execution.

Kenneth Eugene Smith
Kenneth Eugene Smith

Alabama Department of Corrections


alabama too Doyle Lee Haim’s 2018 execution called off For the same reasons. He reached an agreement with the state that halted further attempts at execution, although he remained on capital punishment. He later died of natural causes.

Prison officials blamed time constraints, particularly the midnight deadline, for the three stalled hangings.

state july which nathan james was executedBut at least partly because of the same problem of accessing an IV line after only a three-hour delay.

Alabama executes inmate convicted of 1994 murder of girlfriend
An undated photo of Joe Nathan James Jr., who was convicted of shooting and killing his ex-girlfriend in 1994.

Alabama Department of Corrections


Last week Alabama Gov. k eve announced a ban on hanging To review procedures. The Republican governor cited concern for the families of the victims.

Miller was sentenced to death after being convicted of a 1999 workplace rampage in which he killed Terry Jarvis, Lee Holdbrook and Scott Yancy.

The settlement agreement likely prevents another execution attempt in the near future because Alabama has not announced procedures for using nitrogen hypoxia, and there will be litigation over the method’s humaneness before the state tries to use it.

Seventeen men have been executed in the US this year, according to data compiled by the Death Penalty Information Center. The center says Alabama has carried out 70 executions since 1976, and the state currently has 170 inmates on death row.

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