Alabama execution called off as death warrant expires after 'issues accessing veins'

Alabama execution called off as death warrant expires after ‘issues accessing veins’

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Hours after approval from a divided U.S. Supreme Court, the state of Alabama called off the execution of Alan Eugene Miller citing issues accessing his veins and time restraints.

Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) Commissioner John Hamm said there were issues accessing Miller’s veins and the lethal injection protocol was not going to complete before the death warrant expired at 11:59 p.m. Thursday, according to Fox 6 in Birmingham. 

Miller is reportedly alive and back in his cell at Holman Correctional Facility. Hamm also told media that an ambulance did leave the prison, but it was unrelated to the execution, the outlet reported.

Alan Miller is on death row in Alabama.
(Alabama Department of Corrections)

Gov. Kay Ivey released a statement early Friday morning shortly after ADOC announced the execution had been called off. Ivey’s office said she anticipates the execution will be reset at the earliest opportunity.

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“In Alabama, we are committed to law and order and upholding justice. Despite the circumstances that led to the cancelation of this execution, nothing will change the fact that a jury heard the evidence of this case and made a decision,” Ivey said. “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.”

She added: “Tonight, my prayers are with the victims’ families and loved ones as they are forced to continue reliving the pain of their loss.”

The execution by lethal injection was ultimately approved by the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision Thursday evening after lower courts previously ruled against the execution going forward. The point of contention was a claim by Miller’s attorneys saying the state lost paperwork requesting an alternative execution method.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall argued there is no evidence to corroborate that claim and asked a federal appeals court earlier in the week to lift the injunction blocking the execution.

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Miller was sentenced to death row after a jury convicted him on capital murder charges for the deaths of Lee Holdbrooks, Christopher Scott Yancy and Terry Jarvis on Aug. 5, 1999 in Shelby County, a suburb of Birmingham.

Working as a delivery truck driver at the time, Miller reportedly shot and killed Holdbrooks and Yancy at Ferguson Enterprises in Pelham before driving a few miles to Post Airgas, a former employer, and killing Jarvis, according to the Alabama News Network.

FILE - The sun sets behind Holman Prison in Atmore, Ala., on Jan. 27, 2022.

FILE – The sun sets behind Holman Prison in Atmore, Ala., on Jan. 27, 2022.
(AP Photo/Jay Reeves)

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Each man was shot multiple times and Miller was captured after a highway chase.

Trial testimony indicated that Miller killed the men because he believed they were spreading rumors about him, including that he was gay. A defense psychiatrist hired found that Miller suffered from delusions and severe mental illness, but said his condition wasn’t bad enough to use as a basis for an insanity defense under state law, according to court documents.

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Miller was set to be the state’s third execution of the year after Matthew Reeves in January and Joe Nathan James Jr. in late July.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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