Alabama

Alabama inmate coughs, heaves, during execution by injection

  • FILE - This undated photo provided by the Alabama Department of Corrections shows Ronald Bert Smith Jr.. Smith, who is scheduled to be executed Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016 for the 1994 slaying of Huntsville store clerk Casey Wilson, is asking the governor to stop his execution because a judge imposed a death sentence over the jury's 7-5 recommendation of life imprisonment.  (Alabama Department of Corrections via AP, File)

    FILE - This undated photo provided by the Alabama Department of Corrections shows Ronald Bert Smith Jr.. Smith, who is scheduled to be executed Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016 for the 1994 slaying of Huntsville store clerk Casey Wilson, is asking the governor to stop his execution because a judge imposed a death sentence over the jury's 7-5 recommendation of life imprisonment. (Alabama Department of Corrections via AP, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - This undated photo provided by the Alabama Department of Corrections shows Ronald Bert Smith Jr.. Smith Jr., an Alabama inmate coughed repeatedly and his upper body heaved for at least 13 minutes during an execution, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016, using a drug that has previously been used in problematic lethal injections in at least three other states.    (Alabama Department of Corrections via AP, File)

    FILE - This undated photo provided by the Alabama Department of Corrections shows Ronald Bert Smith Jr.. Smith Jr., an Alabama inmate coughed repeatedly and his upper body heaved for at least 13 minutes during an execution, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016, using a drug that has previously been used in problematic lethal injections in at least three other states. (Alabama Department of Corrections via AP, File)  (The Associated Press)

Thirteen minutes into his execution by injection, an Alabama inmate heaved and coughed and appeared to move during tests meant to determine consciousness.

Forty-five-year-old Ronald Bert Smith Jr. was finally pronounced dead at 11:05 p.m. Thursday night — about 30 minutes after the procedure began at the state prison in southwest Alabama.

Alabama uses the sedative midazolam as the first drug in a three-drug lethal injection combination. Smith and other inmates argued in a court case that the drug was an unreliable sedative and could cause them to feel pain, citing its use in problematic executions. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the use of the drug.

Smith was convicted of capital murder in the Nov. 8, 1994, fatal shooting of Huntsville store clerk Casey Wilson.