Alabama executioners abort Alan Miller’s lethal injection after he struggled to gain access to his veins

When the Supreme Court cleared the way for Alan Miller’s lethal injection Thursday night, the triple killer spent several hours believing he was going to die. But when the moment came, prison officials had difficulty gaining access to his veins, and with a midnight deadline approaching, the decision to call off the execution was made abruptly.

Miller, 57, was sentenced to death in 1999 for murdering three men in a workplace rampage. The decision to drop the case and send Miller back to his cell at around 11:30 p.m. came just hours after the judges ruled the execution should go ahead.

The Supreme Court overturned previous decisions that blocked the execution of the death sentence over Miller’s request for asphyxiation by nitrogen hypoxia — an untested method of execution that Alabama legalized in 2018. The state said it never had any records of Miller making such a request, but Miller insists he signed a form asking to be killed by inhaling nitrogen gas because he is afraid of needles.

“Due to time constraints due to the delay in the trial, the execution was halted after it was determined that the convicted inmate’s veins were inaccessible under our protocol prior to the expiration of the death sentence,” Alabama Corrections Commissioner John Hamm said, according to the Associated Press, adding, that “access to the veins took a little longer than we expected”.

In 1999, pickup truck driver Miller shot and killed colleagues Lee Holdbrooks and Scott Yancy in Birmingham. He then drove to a store where he had previously worked and killed his former boss, Terry Jarvis. He was arrested after a fast-paced chase.

During the 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 a state-law insanity defense.

“Despite the circumstances leading to the annulment of this execution, nothing will change the fact that a jury heard the evidence in this case and made a decision,” Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said in a statement, adding that the families of the victims are still mourning. “We all know for a fact that Michael Holdbrooks, Terry Lee Jarvis and Christopher Scott Yancy didn’t choose to die from bullets in the chest. Tonight my prayers are with the families and loved ones of the victims who are being forced to relive the pain of their loss.”

Although Thursday’s execution was given the green light, critics questioned the Supreme Court’s 5-4 order. “Today is another clear example that when it comes to executions, the outcome matters to this court, whether it’s legal or not,” said Robert Dunham, executive director of the nonprofit Death Penalty Information Center The New York Times. “That’s not what a neutral referee does. That is not what a legitimate court does.” Alabama executioners abort Alan Miller’s lethal injection after he struggled to gain access to his veins


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