According to Reuters, the state of Alabama has executed Tommy Arthur by lethal injection. Arthur spent over three decades on death row and faced seven previous execution dates after he was convicted of killing his girlfriend’s husband in 1982. Arthur was executed by lethal injection at 12:15 a.m. in Atmore, Alabama on Friday.
Prior to his execution, Arthur said his goodbyes to his children. "I'm sorry I failed you as a father. I love you more than anything on earth," Arthur said, Bob Horton, prison spokesman said.
Arthur’s lawyers had argued that the use of the drug midazolam during lethal injection was unconstitutional and questioned the legality of the state prohibiting a witness from having a cell phone to make a call if the execution failed. "When Thomas Arthur enters the execution chamber tonight, he will leave his constitutional rights at the door," Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in a dissent against the order to lift the stay.
Three juries had found Arthur guilty of shooting Troy Wicker to death in his sleep. Two of the convictions were overturned on constitutional grounds but the third conviction in 1991, Arthur requested that the jury sentence him to death.
"Until I take my last breath, I'll have hope," Arthur told NBC News in an interview last week.
Previously in November, the Supreme Court had halted Arthur’s previous scheduled execution after he argued that Alabama’s lethal injection procedures were cruel and unusual. The court had declined Arthur’s appeal in February that focused on the use of the sedative midazolam, stating that the drug is unable to render executions painless.
Although there is no physical evidence that links Arthur to the murder, Alabama refused to allow DNA testing of a wig worn by the killer, his lawyers stated. The Death Penalty Information Center said, Arthur was the 12th person executed this year in the U.S. and the first in Alabama.