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UPDATE: State of Alabama executes death row inmate Robert Melson

ATMORE, Ala. — The State of Alabama has executed Alabama death row inmate Robert Bryant Melson.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said, “Robert Melson’s decades-long avoidance of justice is over.  For twenty-three years, the families of the three young people whose lives he took, as well as a survivor, have waited for closure and healing.  That process can finally begin tonight.”

Governor Kay Ivey said, “Our court system has done its job in this matter and his convictions have been upheld. Accordingly, the laws of this state have been carried out. It is my prayer that, with tonight’s events, the victims’ families can finally have closure.”

U.S. Supreme Court had temporarily halted Melson’s execution as it reviewed his request to block his execution over questions regarding a sedative’s effectiveness. Justices issued the temporary stay Thursday evening about 15 minutes before 46-year-old Melson was scheduled to be executed by lethal injection.

Melson was convicted of killing three people during a 1994 robbery of a fast food restaurant. His attorneys argued that Alabama plans to use an ineffective sedative that will not render Melson unconscious before other drugs stop his lungs and heart. They cited the December execution in which an Alabama man coughed and heaved for 13 minutes.

His attorneys argued the execution showed “the horrific results of using midazolam in a way it was never intended _ as an anesthetic.”

The Alabama attorney general’s office had asked for the execution to proceed arguing the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld midazolam’s use and allowed other executions to proceed using it. Alabama has now executed four inmates using midazolam.