A death row inmate from Alabama endured THREE HOURS of pain during execution

A death row inmate from Alabama endured THREE HOURS of pain during execution

A death row inmate from Alabama was subjected to pain for three hours during his execution, the longest recorded lethal injection trial in US history, according to a human rights organization report.

Joe Nathan James Jr., 50, has been found guilty and sentenced to death for the fatal shooting of his girlfriend Faith Hall, 26, in Birmingham in 1994.

Investigation by Reprieve US estimates that it took officers at the Atmore, Alabama Correctional Facility between three and three and a half hours to administer James’ lethal injection.

The William C. Holman Correctional Facility scheduled James’s execution for 6:00 p.m. on July 28, although media access was barred until 8:57 p.m. James was then pronounced dead at 9:27 p.m

The autopsy analysis revealed that officers tried unsuccessfully to insert an IV tube for more than three hours. The execution team then attempted a cut-down procedure, which would have caused James to fight back, leaving him with injuries to his hands and wrists, according to Reprieve US.

Joe Nathan James Jr. (pictured), 50, received a lethal injection at William C. Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore after the Supreme Court denied his request for a stay despite desperate pleas from the victim’s family to spare his life

James' autopsy shows his execution began almost three hours before the media was allowed into the building.  Pictured: Alabama's lethal injection chamber at Holman Correctional Facility

James’ autopsy shows his execution began almost three hours before the media was allowed into the building. Pictured: Alabama’s lethal injection chamber at Holman Correctional Facility

“Exposing a prisoner to three hours of pain and suffering is the definition of cruel and unusual punishment,” said Maya Foa, director of Reprieve US.

How do lethal injections work?

A state correctional facility conducts all executions through an execution team.

The first step in administering a lethal injection is to place an IV line in the inmate’s forearm or back of the hand.

Once a line is established, a series of three to four drugs are administered, according to the Death Penalty Information Center:

  • An anesthetic that induces deep sleep;
  • A paralyzing agent used as a muscle relaxant to stop breathing via paralysis of the diaphragm and lungs; and
  • A toxic agent administered in lethal doses to disrupt electrical signals essential to heart function, causing cardiac arrest and death within a minute or two.

“States cannot continue to pretend that the heinous practice of lethal injection is in any way humane.”

Alabama state officials did not answer questions regarding the three-hour delay in the execution, saying “there was nothing out of the ordinary.”

“I cannot stress this process enough,” Alabama Justice Department Commissioner John Hamm said in a statement.

“We’re conducting ultimate punishment… and we have protocols in place and we’re very conscious in our process and making sure everything goes according to plan.

“So if that takes a few minutes or a few hours, we’ll do it.”

Hamm did not explain which part of the process led to the delay, adding that ADOC was “hit”. [their] intentional time.’

A statement released by ADOC the day after James’ execution said: “If the condition of the veins is such that intravenous access is not possible, the team will conduct a central line procedure.

“Fortunately this was not necessary and after a reasonable time an IV line was established.”

According to a report by AL.com, James’ eyes were closed throughout the procedure and he did not respond to the guard’s question if he had any final words.

Witnesses saw his arm move slightly at 9:05 p.m., followed by some signs of breathing a minute later.

His breathing continued until 9.10pm when a correctional officer administered a consciousness check, in which James responded only to an arm pinch by moving his head from side to side.

James’ breathing appeared to stop at 9:12 p.m. and the curtains to the room were closed to witnesses at 9:18 p.m.

His time of death was recorded nine minutes later at 9:27 p.m.

ADOC did not respond to the claims made by Elizabeth Bruenig, a reporter for The Atlantic, or Reprieve US.

“Something terrible happened to James while he was strapped to a stretcher behind closed doors with no lawyer present to protest his treatment or a lawyer to watch, yet the state insisted nothing unusual was happening was,” reported Brünig for the Atlantic.

The Reprieve US report claims that due to the lengthy process of setting up an IV line, the execution team sedated James before the media arrived.

This would leave James visibly unconscious by 9 p.m.

‘First, [it was] an agonizing procedure behind closed doors, then a theatrical performance for witnesses,” Foa said.

James was sentenced to death for the 1994 shooting of Faith Hall (pictured) in Birmingham

James was sentenced to death for the 1994 shooting of Faith Hall (pictured) in Birmingham

Faith Hall (pictured), who appears in this undated photo, was only 26 years old at the time of her murder

Faith Hall (pictured), who appears in this undated photo, was only 26 years old at the time of her murder

The victim's daughter Terrlyn (pictured left) and Hall's brother Obito (pictured right) tried to stop James from being executed and instead wanted him to serve a life sentence behind bars, but their request was denied by Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey

The victim’s daughter Terrlyn (pictured left) and Hall’s brother Obito (pictured right) tried to stop James from being executed and instead wanted him to serve a life sentence behind bars, but their request was denied by Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey

Hall’s two daughters, Toni Hall Melton, who was three, and Terryln Hall, who was six when their mother was killed, and their younger brother, Helvetius Hall, who was 24 at the time of the murder, had publicly stated that they would prefer James to serve life in prison without the possibility of parole.

In response to Hall’s family protesting the execution of James, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said she would not intervene, saying in a statement that “we must always meet our responsibilities to the law, public safety and the justice system.” .

“Tonight a fair and lawful judgment was carried out and a clear message sent that Alabama stands with victims of domestic violence.”

James acted as his own attorney in his attempt to stop his execution by sending handwritten complaints and appeals from death row to the courts.

A day before his execution, a lawyer filed an appeal on his behalf with the US Supreme Court, which was denied about 30 minutes before the execution began.