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When it rains, it pours for the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC).
A federal judge has ordered the state of Alabama to preserve records, supplies and other evidence from a failed execution that was called off after officials struggled to find a vein.
Alan Eugene Miller has been locked in a bitter battle with the ADOC after a lengthy legal battle over his preferred execution method.
The battle came to a head after the Supreme Court ruled that Miller could be executed by lethal injection.
Miller’s execution was attempted and called off on Thursday evening after ADOC officials determined Miller’s veins “could not be accessed in accordance with our protocol before the expiration of the death warrant.”
U.S. District Judge R. Austin Huffaker Jr. issued the order at the request of the inmate’s lawyers, who are trying to gather more information about what happened during the attempted execution.
Huffaker ordered the Alabama Department of Corrections to locate and preserve all evidence related to the attempted execution, including notes, emails, texts and used medical supplies such as syringes, swabs, scalpels and IV lines. He also granted a request from Miller’s attorney to visit him and photograph what they said were “injuries from the attempted execution.”
Miller was sentenced after being convicted of murdering three coworkers in a shooting rampage. A defense psychiatrist said Miller was delusional and suffered from severe mental illness, which caused him to believe his coworkers were spreading rumors about his sexual orientation.
Gov. Kay Ivey released a statement just after midnight on Friday morning.
“In Alabama, we are committed to law and order and upholding justice,” Ivey declared. “Despite the circumstances that led to the cancellation of this execution, nothing will change the fact that a jury heard the evidence of this case and made a decision. It does not change the fact that Mr. Miller never disputed his crimes. And it does not change the fact that three families still grieve. We all know full well that Michael Holdbrooks, Terry Lee Jarvis and Christopher Scott Yancey did not choose to die by bullets to the chest. Tonight, my prayers are with the victims’ families and loved ones as they are forced to continue reliving the pain of their loss.”
Miller has continuously requested to be put to death by nitrogen hypoxia, a means of execution that the state is currently preparing.
Miller claims he requested execution by nitrogen hypoxia in 2018, but his request was mishandled by prison staff, a claim denied by ADOC officials.
ADOC told a federal judge last week that Alabama “has completed many of the preparations necessary for conducting executions by nitrogen hypoxia” but is currently incapable of carrying it out.
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