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Hours after approval by a divided US Supreme Court, the state of Alabama revoked Alan Eugene Miller’s death sentence, citing problems with access to 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 before the death warrant was completed at 11:59 p.m. Thursday, according to Fox 6 in Birmingham.
Miller is reported to be alive and back in his cell at Holman Correctional Facility. Hamm also told the media that an ambulance had left the prison, but it was not related to the execution, the outlet reported.
Gov. Kay Ivey released a statement Friday morning shortly after ADOC announced the cancellation of the executions. Ivey’s office said he hopes the death penalty will be reinstated as soon as possible.
The state lost its paperwork after a judge said Alabama had blocked inmates from receiving lethal injections
“In Alabama, we are committed to maintaining law and order and maintaining justice. Despite the circumstances that led to the overturning of this death penalty, no jury will change the way they heard the evidence and decided this case,” Ivey said. “It doesn’t change that Mr. Miller has never disputed his guilt. 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 did not choose to die. Shots in the chest .”
He added: “Tonight, my prayers are with the families and loved ones of the victims as they are forced to deal with the pain of their loss.”
Execution by lethal injection was finally approved by the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision Thursday evening after lower courts had previously ruled against the death penalty. At issue was a claim by Miller’s attorneys that the state had lost paperwork requesting an alternative execution method.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall argued there was no evidence to support the claim and earlier in the week asked a federal appeals court to lift the execution ban.
Alabama asked a federal appeals court this week to move forward with lethal injection
Miller was sentenced to death after a jury convicted him of murder in the Aug. 5, 1999, deaths of Lee Holdbrooks, Christopher Scott Yancey and Terry Jarvis in Shelby County, a suburb of Birmingham.
Working as a delivery truck driver at the time, Miller reportedly shot and killed Holdbrooks and Yancey at Ferguson Enterprises in Pelham before driving a few miles to a former employer, Post AirGas, according to the Alabama News Network and killing Jarvis.
The state of Alabama asked to dismiss the case seeking to prevent the inmate’s death sentence
Each man was shot multiple times and Miller was captured after a highway chase.
Trial testimony indicated that Miller killed the men because he believed they were spreading rumors about him, including that he was gay. A defense psychiatrist assigned found Miller suffering from delusions and severe mental illness, but his condition was not severe enough to be used as a basis for an insanity defense under state law, according to court documents.
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Miller is set to be executed for the third time of the year, following Matthew Reeves in January and Joe Nathan James Jr. in late July.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.