‘Only living execution survivor’ describes botched lethal injection in Alabama prison
- An Alabama death row inmate is now the only known sole survivor of the controversial lethal injection method
- Alan Eugene Miller reported being stabbed with a needle repeatedly and ending up hanging vertically from a gurney
Alabama death row inmate Alan Eugene Miller, now the “only living execution survivor”, described a harrowing lethal injection process that was supposed to kill him.
“Despite this failed execution, the physical and mental torture it inflicted upon Mr Miller, and the fact that Defendants have now botched three lethal injection executions in just four years, Defendants relentlessly seek to execute Mr Miller again – presumably by lethal injection,” lawyer for Miller said in court documents, referring to him as the “only living execution survivor”.
Miller, who was convicted of killing three people in 1999, was scheduled to be executed on September 22, but the Alabama Department of Corrections had been met with several challenges.
A federal judge ruled to put a hold on Miller’s execution after his lawyers claimed that he elected to die by nitrogen hypoxia, an execution method involving suffocation by forcing a person to breathe pure nitrogen instead of oxygen.
But by 9.15pm, the US Supreme Court ruled that his execution could proceed.
By the time the execution was called off around midnight, “Miller was left hanging off the upright gurney, his hands and one foot bleeding from failed IV attempts, waiting to die,” The Atlantic reported.
He had been stabbed repeatedly in his arms, hands, legs, and feet as administrators had failed to find a vein to insert the drugs for over an hour, according to NBC News.
Miller had attempted to request nitrogen hypoxia as his method of death because he dislikes needles and people typically have difficulty finding his veins, Associated Press reported.
“Mr Miller felt nauseous, disoriented, confused, and fearful about whether he was about to be killed, and was deeply disturbed by his view of state employees silently staring at him from the observation room while he was hanging vertically from the gurney,” his lawyers said in a motion. “Blood was leaking from some of Mr Miller’s wounds.”
The state is still looking to set another date for Miller’s execution.
The controversial lethal injection protocol has a history of being a catalyst for botched executions since its implementation in the US in the 1970s.
In 2018, Alabama called off the execution of Doyle Lee Hamm after not being able to find a vein. More recently, the state also botched the execution of Joe Nathan James Jnr.