Alabama Abandons Execution After Failing to Find Vein for Lethal Injection

Alabama officials called off a scheduled execution due to time concerns and trouble accessing the man’s veins for the lethal injection. 

Prison officials in Alabama abandoned an attempted lethal injection after trouble accessing his veins, two months after the state was accused of “cruel and unusual punishment” when it spent three hours executing Joe Nathan James.

Alan Miller was convicted of killing three people in a shooting in 1999. 

The state halted Miller’s execution after they determined they could not get the lethal injection underway before a midnight deadline. The last-minute reprieve came nearly three hours after a divided Supreme Court cleared the way for the execution to begin.

It is the second botched execution in Alabama in recent months.

“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,” John Hamm, Alabama corrections commissioner, said.

In July, Alabama officials took between three and three and a half hours to carry out the lethal injection of James. There have been many accusations that Alabama botched the execution. 

Experts and advocates said Alabama officials tortured James to death and then covered it up. And that now, instead of pausing and investigating how their actions led to what may have been the longest recorded execution in our country’s history, they instead rushed Miller to the execution chamber weeks later and tried to kill him in secret. 

The attempt to execute Miller came hours after the US supreme court overturned a stay blocking his execution.

A federal judge placed Miller’s execution on hold after Alabama said it would not be ready to use nitrogen hypoxia to kill Miller, who had requested nitrogen be used, rather than lethal injection, citing fear of needles.

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