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Alabama abandons execution after failing to find vein for lethal injection

Prison officials in Alabama abandoned an attempted lethal injection of a man on Thursday after trouble accessing his veins, two months after the state was accused of “cruel and unusual punishment” when it spent three hours executing Joe Nathan James.

Alabama halted the execution of Alan Miller, who was convicted of killing three people in a shooting in 1999, after they determined they could not get the lethal injection under way before a midnight deadline.

Thursday was the second botched execution in Alabama in recent months. In July it took between three and three and a half hours to carry out the lethal injection of James, an analysis by Reprieve US found.

“Alabama officials tortured Joe Nathan James to death for over three hours trying to set up an IV line, and then covered it up. Instead of pausing and investigating how their actions led to what may have been the longest recorded execution in our country’s history, they instead rushed Alan Miller to the execution chamber weeks later and tried to kill him in secret,” said Maya Foa, director of Reprieve US.

“Officials knew it was likely they would subject Alan Miller to the very same long and agonizing procedure as Joe Nathan James and Doyle Lee Hamm [whose execution was abandoned in 2018 after prison officials spent two and a half hours trying to access his veins] and yet they ploughed ahead anyway – adding to the state’s horrific history of botched executions.

“It is hard to see how they can persist with this broken method of execution that keeps going catastrophically wrong, again and again. In its desperation to execute, Alabama is experimenting on prisoners behind closed doors – surely the definition of cruel and unusual punishment.” Read the full story in The Guardian US.