When the Supreme Court cleared the way for Alan Miller’s lethal injection Thursday night, the triple murderer spent several hours thinking he was about to die. But when the moment came as prison officials struggled to access his veins, and with a midnight TUSEN looming, the decision was abruptly made to call off the execution.
Miller, 57, was sentenced to death for the murder of three men in a workplace shooting in 1999. The decision to stop the proceedings and return Miller to his cell at around 11:30 p.m. came just hours after the judges ruled. determined that the execution should go ahead.
The Supreme Court overturned previous decisions that blocked the execution of the death penalty over Miller’s request to be suffocated by nitrogen hypoxia — an untested execution method that Alabama legalized in 2018. make such a request, but Miller insists he has signed a form asking to be killed by inhaling nitrogen gas for fear of needles.
“Due to time constraints due to the delay in court proceedings, the execution was called off when it was determined that the convict’s veins were inaccessible in accordance with our protocol prior to the expiration of the death sentence,” Alabama Corrections Commissioner John Hamm said, according to the The US Express News, adding that “access to the veins took a little longer than we expected.”
In 1999, truck driver Miller shot and killed his colleagues Lee Holdbrooks and Scott Yancy in Birmingham. He then drove to a company where he had previously worked and killed his former supervisor, Terry Jarvis. He was arrested after a high-speed chase.
During the trial, the court learned that Miller believed 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 defense against insanity under state law.
“Despite the circumstances that led to the cancellation of this execution, nothing changes the fact that a jury has heard the evidence of this case and made a decision,” Alabama Governor Kay Ivey said in a statement, adding that the families of the victims 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 I pray with the families and loved ones of the victims as they are forced to continue to relive the pain of their loss.”
Despite the execution being given the green light on Thursday, critics questioned the Supreme Court’s 5-4 order. “Today is another clear example that, when it comes to executions, it is the outcome that counts in this court, whether it is legal or not,” Robert Dunham, executive director of the nonprofit Death Penalty Information Center, told reporters. The New York Times. “That is not what a neutral arbitrator of the law does. That is not what a legitimate court does.”