ATMORE, Ala. – The Latest on the execution of an Alabama inmate(all times local):
A lawyer for an Alabama inmate put to death by lethal injection Thursday says she is concerned his trembling limbs and labored breathing were an indication something "was not right" with the procedure.
Christine Freeman, the executive director of the Federal Defenders Program in Montgomery, said Friday that Robert Melson's arms shook against restraints at the start of the procedures in a manner not seen in other executions.
Melson's attorneys had unsuccessfully asked the appellate courts to block the execution, arguing there were unanswered questions about the effectiveness of the sedative midazolam that Alabama uses at the start of the execution. State attorneys argued there is no evidence that inmates had suffered pain using midazolam.
Melson's hands and arms shook at the start of the procedure at 9:59 p.m. His breathing appeared to become quickly labored, with his chest moving up and down, before slowing until it was no longer perceptible by 10:09 p.m. The execution took 32 minutes from the time the death warrant was read until Melson was pronounced dead at 10:27 p.m. CDT.
Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn said Thursday that Melson's execution went according to protocol.
A man convicted of killing three people during the 1994 robbery of an Alabama fast-food restaurant was put to death by lethal injection.
Authorities say 46-year-old Robert Melson was pronounced dead at 10:27 p.m. CDT Thursday at a southwest Alabama prison. The execution was the state's second of the year.
State prosecutors said Melson and another man who used to work at the restaurant, robbed a Popeye's in Gadsden, 60 miles northeast of Birmingham, and Melson opened fire on four employees in the restaurant's freezer.
Nathaniel Baker, Tamika Collins and Darrell Collier were killed. The surviving employee, Bryant Archer, crawled for help and was able to identify one of the robbers as the former worker which led police to Melson.