Alabama Switches to Injection After a Nitrogen Gas Execution

Jamie Ray Mills was convicted of killing an elderly couple
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 30, 2024 10:20 AM CDT
Updated May 30, 2024 7:15 PM CDT
Man to Be Executed for Double Murder Says Prosecutors Lied
Jamie Ray Mills.   (Alabama Department of Corrections via AP)

Alabama carried out its second execution of the year on Thursday, months after the nation's first execution via nitrogen gas. Jamie Ray Mills, 50, was pronounced dead at 6:26pm after receiving a three-drug injection at the William C. Holman Correctional Facility in southwest Alabama, authorities said, the AP reports. Lethal injection "remains the state's main execution method unless an inmate has requested nitrogen," per the AP. Mills was convicted in the 2004 murders of an elderly couple who were beaten and robbed in their Guin home "There is no doubt that Mills committed those offenses," Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall wrote in a motion earlier this year to set Mills' execution date. The state Supreme Court gave its approval, per the Montgomery Advertiser.

The Alabama Department of Corrections did not say ahead of time which drugs it planned to use, USA Today reports. Mills maintained he didn't kill Floyd and Vera Hill and was only convicted because his ex-wife lied on the witness stand. JoAnn Mills said she saw her common-law husband kill the couple with a hammer, tire tool, and machete after a night spent smoking methamphetamine, per USA Today and the AP. The Millses had been found with the alleged murder weapons and other evidence—including a blood-soaked pair of pants bearing Jamie Mills' name—in their vehicle a day after the killings. JoAnn Mills pleaded guilty to a charge of murder and received a life sentence with the possibility of parole.

Jamie Mills, who argued he'd been framed by a local drug dealer, was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death. In recent filings, his lawyers argue prosecutors obtained his conviction illegally by concealing a plea deal with their star witness, a claim the state denies. Defense lawyers also claimed Mills possibly would be subjected to an "unnecessarily prolonged and tortuous execution," per USA Today. However, the 11th Circuit Court of Criminal Appeals denied motions to delay the execution this week. Marshall said Mills was only looking to "further delay the execution," noting he's put forth no new evidence that could clear his name. He also dismissed concerns of unnecessary cruelty. Hours before the execution, the US Supreme Court declined without comment to block it. (More execution stories.)

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