An Alabama man convicted of killing three people in a 1999 workplace shooting was spared the death penalty at the 11th hour Thursday because his executioner couldn’t find a vein for the lethal injection.
Alan Miller’s execution was called off about 11:30 p.m. when prison officials decided the vein issue would keep them from meeting the midnight deadline, Alabama Corrections Commissioner John Hamm said.
Miller’s execution was cleared to move forward by a last-minute decision from the US Supreme Court.
“Due to time constraints resulting from the lateness of the court proceedings, the execution was called off once it was determined the condemned inmate’s veins could not be accessed in accordance with our protocol before the expiration of the death warrant,” the corrections commissioner said.
Miller was taken back to his cell after the failed execution.
The convicted killer gunned down three people – Terry Jarvis, Lee Holdbrooks and Scott Yancy — in two separate shootings in August 1999.
At Miller’s trial, his defense lawyers focused on sparing his life by painting him as mentally incompetent and delusional, AL.com reported. The jury deliberated for less than 30 minutes before convicting him of the killings and recommending the judge impose a death sentence, the news outlet reported.
After the failed execution, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said her prayers were with the families of Miller’s three victims.
“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,” Ivey said in a statement.
“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,” Ivey said.
A federal judge Friday ordered Alabama to preserve evidence related to the execution – and to give Miller’s lawyers access to him, AL.com reported.
The state “shall make immediate efforts to locate and preserve evidence concerning the attempted execution, including but not limited to notes, emails, texts, and used medical supplies such as syringes, swabs, scalpels, and IV-lines,” Judge Austin Huffaker wrote in the order.
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