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Hours after a divided US Supreme Court approved, the state of Alabama overturned Alan Eugene Miller’s execution citing problems accessing his veins and time constraints.
Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) Commissioner John Hamm said there were problems accessing Miller’s veins and that the lethal injection protocol would not be completed before the death warrant expired in at 11:59 p.m. Thursday, according to Fox 6 in Birmingham.
Miller is alive and back in his cell at the Holman Correctional Facility. Hamm also told the media that an ambulance left the prison, but that it was unrelated to the execution, the outlet reported.
Gov. Kay Ivey issued a statement early Friday morning shortly after ADOC announced the execution had been canceled. Ivey’s office said it anticipates enforcement will be reinstated at the earliest opportunity.
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“In Alabama, we are committed to law and order and to justice. Despite the circumstances that led to the cancellation of this execution, nothing will change the fact that a jury heard the evidence in this case and made a decision,” Ivey said. “It doesn’t change the fact that Mr. Miller never pleaded guilty to his crimes. And it doesn’t change the fact that three families are still suffering. We all know full well that Michael Holdbrooks, Terry Lee Jarvis and Christopher Scott Yancey did not choose to die. with bullets in the chest”.
He added: “Tonight, my prayers are with the families and loved ones of the victims as they are forced to continue to relive the pain of their loss.”
Execution by lethal injection was finally approved by the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision Thursday evening after lower courts previously ruled against the execution. At issue was a claim by Miller’s attorneys that the state lost paperwork to request an alternative method of execution.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall argued there is no evidence to support that claim and asked a federal appeals court earlier this week to lift the order blocking the execution.
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Miller was sentenced to death after a jury convicted him of capital murder in the Aug. 5, 1999, deaths of Lee Holdbrooks, Christopher Scott Yancy and Terry Jarvis in Shelby County, a suburb of Birmingham.
At the time, Miller, who was working as a delivery truck driver, shot and killed Holdbrooks and Yancy at Ferguson Enterprises in Pelham before driving several miles to Post Airgas, a former employer, and killing Jarvis, according to Alabama News Network.
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Each man was shot several times and Miller was captured after a road chase.
Trial testimony indicated that Miller killed the men because he believed they were spreading rumors about him, including that he was gay. A hired defense psychiatrist found Miller suffered from delusions and severe mental illness, but said his condition was not bad enough to use as the basis for an insanity defense under state law, according to court documents .
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Miller was supposed to be the third run of the year after Matthew Reeves in January and Joe Nathan James Jr. at the end of July.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.