U.S.

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

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Hours after the approval of a divided US Supreme Court, the state of Alabama called for the execution of Alan Eugene Miller, citing problems with access to his veins and time constraints.

Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) Commissioner John Hamm said there were problems accessing Miller’s veins and the lethal injection protocol would not be completed until the death sentence expired at 11:59 p.m. Thursday, according to Fox 6 in Birmingham.

Miller is reportedly alive and back in his cell at the Holman Correctional Facility. Hamm also told media that an ambulance left the prison but had nothing to do with the execution, the outlet reported.

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

Governor Kay Ivey released a statement early Friday morning, shortly after ADOC announced the execution had been called off. Ivey’s office said it expects the execution to be reset as soon as possible.

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“In Alabama, we are committed to public order and the maintenance of justice. 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.” said Ivey. “It doesn’t change the fact that Mr. Miller never disputed his crimes. And it doesn’t change the fact that three families are still grieving. We all know very well that Michael Holdbrooks, Terry Lee Jarvis and Christopher Scott Yancey didn’t choose it.” to die by bullets in the chest.”

She added: “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.”

The execution by lethal injection was finally approved by the Supreme Court on Thursday evening in a 5-4 decision, after lower courts previously ruled the execution would not go ahead. The point of contention was a claim by Miller’s attorneys, who said the state lost the paperwork and asked for an alternate method of execution.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall argued that there is no evidence to substantiate that claim and asked a federal appeals court earlier this week to lift the ban on the execution.

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

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

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

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

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

Witness statements revealed that Miller killed the men because he believed they were spreading rumors about him, including that he was gay. A hired defense psychiatrist found that Miller suffered from delusions and serious 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 would be the third execution of the year, after Matthew Reeves in January and Joe Nathan James Jr. end of July.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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