Alabama officials halted the execution by lethal injection of a prisoner on death row because they did not find a vein by the midnight deadline.
Alabama Commissioner of Corrections John Hamm said the decision to cancel Alan Miller’s scheduled execution was made after it became clear they would not be able to start the process in time.
The last-minute stay came nearly three hours after the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for the execution.
“Due to time constraints resulting from the delay in court proceedings, the execution was canceled once it was determined that the convicted inmate’s veins could not be viewed in accordance with our protocol prior to the expiration of the execution. ‘death warrant,’ Mr Hamm said.
The execution team had begun the process of trying to establish intravenous access, but he didn’t know for how long.
The execution was dropped around 11:30 p.m. Thursday – half an hour before the state’s death warrant expired.
Miller, a delivery truck driver, was convicted of murdering three men in a 1999 workplace shooting near Birmingham, Alabama.
The 57-year-old had opted for nitrogen hypoxia instead of lethal injection due to a fear of needles, but his lawyers said officials lost his papers.
The technique is legally available to him, but has never been used in the United States.
This would result in death by forcing the inmate to breathe only nitrogen, depriving him of the oxygen needed to maintain bodily functions.
When Alabama approved nitrogen hypoxia as a method of execution in 2018, state law gave inmates a brief window to designate it as their method of execution.
Miller said he returned the papers four years ago by selecting nitrogen hypoxia, placing the papers in a slot in his cell door at Holman Correctional Facility for an employee of the prison retrieves them.
His execution by any other means was blocked by a federal judge on Tuesday after finding it “substantially probable” that Miller “submitted a timely election form, even though the state says he didn’t.” has no physical record of a form”.
However, Supreme Court justices – in a 5-4 decision – lifted an injunction that had prevented the execution of the lethal injection from going ahead.