Alabama halts execution of Alan Eugene Miller at last minute

ATMORE, Ala. — Prison officials called off the execution of an Alabama man who was set to die by lethal injection late Thursday, 23 years after a shooting spree left three men dead.

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Alan Eugene Miller, 57, remained alive at William C. Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, reported.

In a statement early Friday, Alabama Department of Corrections Commissioner John Hamm said that Miller was returned to his cell. Hamm added that prison officials attempted to access Miller’s veins, but there was not enough time to finish before the death warrant expired at midnight CDT. reported.

Prison officials will have to return to the Alabama Supreme Court to set a new date, according to

The postponement capped several weeks of legal maneuvering. Earlier Thursday, the Alabama Attorney General’s Office asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a lower court judge’s ruling that put the execution on hold, according to

On Monday, U.S. District Judge R. Austin Huffaker Jr. of the Middle District of Alabama issued a ruling preventing the state from executing Miller by any method other than nitrogen hypoxia, according to the Montgomery Advertiser. Only two other states -- Oklahoma and Mississippi -- have approved the use of nitrogen hypoxia to carry out death sentences, but none has ever actually used it, CNN reported.

The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision Thursday evening, granted the state’s application. Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Amy Coney Barrett and Ketanji Brown Jackson voted to deny the application.

On Aug. 5, 1999, Miller, a delivery truck driver, killed co-workers Lee Holdbrooks and Scott Yancy at a business in suburban Birmingham, according to The Associated Press. He then drove away and shot former supervisor Terry Jarvis at a business where Miller once worked.

Miller was eventually captured after a highway chase, according to the AP.

A jury deliberated for 20 minutes before finding Miller guilty and recommended the death penalty, the Advertiser reported.

Miller claimed that in June 2018 he completed a form distributed to death row inmates in Alabama electing to die by the newly approved method of nitrogen hypoxia, reported.

The attorney general’s office argued that there was no record of a form submitted by Miller and that he should be executed by lethal injection.