Alabama has asked a federal appeals court to let it proceed Thursday night with the lethal injection of an inmate who claims the state lost his paperwork selecting an alternative execution method.
Alan Miller, 57, was convicted of killing three people in a 1999 workplace rampage and was scheduled to die by lethal injection Thursday until the execution was blocked by a judge earlier this week. Alabama asked the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to lift that injunction.
Miller testified that he turned in paperwork four years ago selecting nitrogen hypoxia as his execution method, putting it in a slot in his cell door for a prison worker to collect. U.S. District Judge R. Austin Huffaker Jr. issued a preliminary injunction blocking the state from killing Miller by any means other than nitrogen hypoxia.
Nitrogen hypoxia is a proposed execution method in which death would be caused by forcing the inmate to breathe only nitrogen, thereby depriving him or her of the oxygen needed to maintain bodily functions. It is authorized as an execution method in three states but no state has attempted to put an inmate to death by the untested method. Alabama officials told the judge they are working to finalize the protocol.
Republished with permission from The Associated Press.