Tennessee, Alabama Execute Killers on Same Night

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A man convicted of killing his wife at a camping center he managed in Memphis was put to death Thursday in Tennessee. A man condemned to die for his role in a quadruple killing after a dispute over a pickup truck was executed in Alabama, declining to make  last-minute appeals, reports the Associated Press. In Tennessee, Don Johnson was executed for the 1984 suffocation of his wife, Connie. He initially blamed his wife’s slaying on a work-release inmate who confessed to helping dispose of the body and who was granted immunity for testifying against Johnson. Johnson, 68, became the fourth person executed in Tennessee since August. The last two inmates executed in the state chose the electric chair, saying they believed it offered a quicker and less painful death than the state’s usual method of lethal injection.

Johnson had spent half his life on death row and seen three execution dates come and go as his appeals played out in court, including challenges to Tennessee’s lethal injection protocols. The state’s present default method is a three-drug combination that includes the sedative midazolam, which inmates have claimed causes a prolonged and excruciating death. Three more executions are scheduled for later this year in Tennessee. Alabama administered a lethal injection Thursday evening to Michael Brandon Samra, 41. Samra and a friend, Mark Duke, were convicted in the deaths of Duke’s father, the father’s girlfriend and the woman’s two elementary-school-age daughters in 1997. The two adults were shot and the children had their throats slit. Evidence showed that Duke planned the killings because he was angry his father wouldn’t let him use his pickup.

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