On his eighth scheduled execution date, Alabama inmate Tommy Arthur was put to death by lethal injection for a 1982 murder for hire, reports Al.com in Birmingham. He did not admit to or mention anything about the crime that landed him on death row, the shooting death of Troy Wicker Jr. The execution began about 11:50 p.m., ten minutes before the death warrant was to expire, said Alabama Department of Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn. The execution was to have begun at 6 p.m. but was delayed by appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The execution contrasted with the Dec. 8 case of Ronald Bert Smith, who for 13 minutes heaved and gasped for breath and two consciousness tests were performed before the lethal drugs were administered. Smith’s attorneys called it “botched.” Gov. Kay Ivey said, “After much prayer and careful and deliberate consideration, I thought it best to allow the decision of a jury of Tommy Arthur’s peers to stand.” Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissented from a decision to allow the execution, writing, “Alabama plans to execute Thomas Arthur tonight using a three-drug lethal-injection protocol that uses midazolam as a sedative. I continue to doubt whether midazolam is capable of rendering prisoners insensate to the excruciating pain of lethal injection.” Arthur, 75, was the third-longest serving inmate among the 184 on Alabama’s death row.