MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WHNT) — The Alabama Attorney General’s Office says that convicted killer Alan Miller will not be executed by nitrogen hypoxia on September 22, according to an affidavit filed on Thursday.
In the court document, Alabama Department of Corrections Commissioner John Hamm stated that the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) “cannot” use the untested method of execution next week, but said the department “remains ready to carry out (Miller’s) sentence by lethal injection.”
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57-year-old Miller was convicted of killing three men in Shelby County during a workplace shooting spree on August 5, 1999. Lee Michael Holdbrooks, Terry Lee Jarvis and Christopher Scott Yancy were killed.
Nitrogen hypoxia, which is supposed to cause death by replacing oxygen with nitrogen, was signed into law in 2018 as an allowable option for inmates waiting to be executed. In June 2018, inmates on Death Row were given a 30-day window to choose to be executed by the never-been-used hypoxia method.
Miller filed a lawsuit recently that claims a correctional officer didn’t turn in his form requesting the change to his execution method four years ago. In AL.com’s article, Miller claims in a court affidavit that he signed the form requesting the change, and gave it back to the correctional officer – but was denied a copy of the form or the chance to have it notarized.
In the affidavit filed Thursday, attorneys from the Attorney General’s Office said, “(The state does) not concede that the ADOC’s ability to carry out an execution by nitrogen hypoxia is relevant to the question of whether (Miller) is likely to prove his claim that he elected nitrogen hypoxia within the statutorily set election period.”
According to AL.com, a deposition shows that Miller wanted to die by nitrogen hypoxia so that he “wouldn’t have to be stabbed with needles.”
“I thought it would be simpler,” said Miller in the filing. “I wouldn’t be stabbed like that or have allergic reactions to the chemicals that they said was in the lethal injection.”
During his testimony in court earlier this week, Miller stated that he didn’t like needles, adding that he felt “like a pin cushion” when giving blood in the past.
“You know, it’s my life,” Miller said in the deposition. “And I know I didn’t want to be stabbed with needles and everything like that. And then at the time, I would have thought it would have been a more humane thing because I sort of did it myself as it could be like you go to the dentist, even though I have never been under gas at a dentist. But I’ve heard other people say that you just go under, and you come back out. But this one you ain’t going to come back out of.”
Another statement from Miller in the court filing said, “I don’t want to die. I just want to be treated fairly.”
An ADOC representative sent out a statement following the affidavit, saying the department would need thorough training before nitrogen hypoxia could be used in an execution:
“The Alabama Department of Corrections has completed many of the preparations necessary for conducting executions by nitrogen hypoxia. The protocol for carrying out executions by this method is not yet complete. Once the nitrogen hypoxia protocol is complete, ADOC personnel will need sufficient time to be thoroughly trained before an execution can be conducted using this method.”
Execution by nitrogen hypoxia has been authorized by Alabama and two other states for executions but as of September 2022, has never been used by a state.