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The Latest: Death row inmate: Execution drugs won’t work

This undated photo released by the Alabama Department of Corrections shows death row inmate Tommy Arthur, who was convicted in the 1982 murder of Troy Wicker. Arthur, nicknamed the Houdini of death row after having seventh executions postponed is facing an eighth date with the death chamber on Thursday, May 25, 2017, and a diminishing chance of winning another reprieve. (Alabama Department of Corrections via AP)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Latest on the scheduled execution in Alabama (all times local):

11:40 a.m.

Lawyers for Alabama inmate Tommy Arthur say his lethal injection should be delayed because of issues with the state’s execution drugs.

His attorneys filed court papers Wednesday with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. They pointed to issues with the state’s last lethal injection and say the state will give Arthur an ineffective anesthetic before giving him drugs to stop his lungs and heart.

In December, inmate Ronald Bert Smith coughed for the first 13 minutes of his execution and moved slightly after two consciousness tests. Arthur’s lawyers argued that Smith was awake during his execution. Alabama uses the sedative midazolam, which has come under scrutiny after some inmates moved and coughed.

The state responded in a court filing that there was no evidence that Smith, or other inmates, experienced pain.


8:20 a.m.

An Alabama inmate is asking an appellate court to stop his execution as he challenges the constitutionality of the state’s death penalty procedures.

Lawyers for Tommy Arthur filed the request Tuesday night with the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals. Arthur has a pending lawsuit arguing Alabama improperly left decisions about how lethal injections are carried out to state prison officials.

The stay request comes after the appellate court on Tuesday reversed a judge’s decision to toss out the lawsuit. The court said since it should have been transferred to the court where his trial occurred.

The state attorney general’s office says the decision should not delay the execution.

Arthur is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection at 6 p.m. Thursday. Arthur was convicted in the 1982 murder-for-hire of Troy Wicker.

Arthur has had seven executions stayed previously.


1:30 a.m.

An Alabama inmate who has had seven executions postponed is scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection Thursday.

Tommy Arthur maintains his innocence, but concedes in a phone interview from prison his hopes of winning another reprieve are diminishing. Still, the 75-year-old Arthur says he “won’t give up.”

Arthur was convicted in the 1982 murder-for-hire of Troy Wicker. Judy Wicker initially told police that a black man broke into the house, raped her and killed her husband. After her conviction, she testified that Arthur killed her husband while wearing a wig and makeup and that she paid him $10,000.

Arthur’s legal team has challenged lethal injection procedures.

A victims’ advocacy group director refers to Arthur as the “Houdini” of death row for the number of execution stays he has won.

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