Alabama Halts Execution of Man Who Killed Pastor

SCOTUS ruling came after death warrant expired
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 12, 2019 12:25 AM CDT
Alabama Halts Execution of Man Who Killed Pastor
This photo provided by the Alabama Department of Corrections shows Christopher Lee Price.   (Alabama Department of Corrections via AP, File)

An Alabama inmate convicted in the 1991 sword-and-dagger slaying of a pastor during a home robbery was spared from a scheduled lethal injection after the state was unable to lift a last-minute stay in time to carry out his execution Thursday evening. A federal judge on Thursday stayed the execution of 46-year-old Christopher Lee Price to weigh his challenge to Alabama's execution process. A divided US Supreme Court lifted the stay early Friday morning, but that came after the death warrant setting his April 11 execution date expired at midnight, the AP reports. Alabama will have to seek a new execution date from a state court. Price was convicted of using a sword and dagger to fatally stab Church of Christ pastor Bill Lynn in 1991 as he prepared Christmas gifts for his grandchildren.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey and state Attorney General Steve Marshall said they would continue to pursue the death sentence for Price. "This horrendous crime left Pastor Lynn's wife and family to grieve, and now, almost 30 years later, the family is still left with no closure," Ivey said. On Wednesday, Price married his fiance in the visitation yard of the prison, after making a final request to hold the wedding ceremony before his execution. He ordered two pints of turtle tracks ice cream for his final meal. The bid to stop the execution centered on Price's request to be put to death by breathing nitrogen gas instead of by lethal injection. Alabama argued that even though nitrogen hypoxia is authorized under state law, it is currently unavailable because the state has been unable to "procure the means for executing someone with nitrogen gas."

(More execution stories.)

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