That’s Alan Eugene Miller, who was convicted of murdering three men in 1999. Nobody disputes that he is guilty. The only question is how and when he will be executed, as he received the death penalty and deserved to. The fact that he is still breathing 23 years after his crimes speaks for itself, and is self-evidently absurd, a direct consequence of the moral and ethical confusion over capitol punishment. People like Miller—that is, people who have forfeited their right to continue living in a civilized society—cost law abiding citizens millions by the time they finally get their just desserts.
This story is especially infuriating as well as ridiculous. Alabama passed a law in 2018 that gave death row prisoners a choice between being killed by a lethal injection and dying by a nitrogen hypoxia, which is death by being deprived of oxygen.
[Observation: Why a condemned prisoner should be given any choice at all is beyond me. As Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, said, Miller’s three victims didn’t get to choose whether they would be shot in the chest.]
Miller is, we are told, afraid of needles, so he chose suffocation.
[Observation: This already sounds like a Monty Python skit. Again, who cares what he’s afraid of? Presumably he’s also a bit afraid to die. So what? Why should the state, or the society he betrayed, have any ethical obligation to yield to his delicate sensitivities?]
The official form in which Miller chose the more pleasant means of execution, in his mind at least, was lost by prison officials. The state then claimed he had never made the request to be smothered and since it was not ready to carry out an execution by hypoxia anyway, tried to move forward with a lethal injection.
[Observations: 1. Are we laughing yet? 2. A macro question: why does anyone trust any government to handle anything but the simplest, most basic functions? All of the bureaucracies are reliably incompetent. This example is especially silly: Alabama gives condemned prisoners a choice of two methods of execution before it is ready to use one of them. Then it loses the consent form. Then it covers by saying, “Form? What form?” 3. It’s tempting to say that Miller should have his sentence commuted to life imprisonment just to teach Alabama a lesson, but governments never learn. 4. Isn’t it odd that a state that uses lethal injections for executions have a governor named “Ivey”?]
A federal judge this week sided with Miller, ruling it was quite likely that he had made the request to be suffocated, but this week, the U.S. Supreme Court overruled and said, in a 5-4 order without explanation, that the execution could go ahead.
[Observation: What a waste of SCOTUS’s time! This guy is a triple murderer. I’d support a system in which after the death sentence is pronounced, the killer is taken into a back room and shot in the head, like Lenny in “Of Mice and Men.” And look, Alan, nothing to be afraid of! No needles!]
But it took prison officials too long to insert an intravenous line into Miller’s veins the night of the Supreme Court ruling, and the death warrant expired (at midnight) before he could be killed. So back he went to his cell, waiting until his execution is rescheduled “at the earliest opportunity.”
Yesterday, a judge granted an emergency request by Miller’s lawyers to photograph any wounds he might have suffered during the attempt to insert the intravenous line, because the process used might have caused him pain.