Because no person has ever been executed by inhaling pure nitrogen — there is seemingly no way to humanely test its use [emphasis mine!] — exactly how the state will carry out a nitrogen hypoxia execution is unclear.” 😳😳😳

The state of Alabama had scheduled Alan Eugene Miller’s execution by lethal injection for Thursday night at Holman Correctional Facility. But a federal judge on Monday ruled that the state could not execute Miller “by any method other than nitrogen hypoxia,” a method the death row inmate says he opted for during the state’s brief window for doing so in 2018.

Questions have arisen over the use of nitrogen hypoxia as a method of execution, as well as whether the state Department of Corrections lost or misplaced Miller’s opt-in form for that execution method, which has never been used to execute a human and is not yet ready to be employed in Alabama.

Here’s what we know about the Miller’s case and the method that could be used in a rescheduled execution.

Sentenced to death for 1999 Ferguson Enterprises shooting that killed 3 in Pelham

Alan Miller, 57, was sentenced to death for the killing of three men in a workplace shooting in Shelby County in 1999. Prosecutors say an employee entering Ferguson Enterprises in Pelham saw Miller exit the building on Aug. 5, 1999, before finding Lee Holdbrooks and Scott Yancy fatally wounded inside.

Miller then drove to nearby Post Airgas, where he had previously worked, and killed Terry Jarvis, an employee at that location, prosecutors say.

The jury deliberated for 20 minutes before finding Miller guilty and recommended the death penalty, which a judge imposed. The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected several of Miller’s appeals.

More:A history of execution methods in Alabama, and the controversies around them

Will nitrogen hypoxia be used to execute Alan Eugene Miller?

It’s unclear.

James Houts, deputy attorney general for Alabama, made headlines on Sept. 12 by saying that it was “very likely” that the state would be able to execute Miller by nitrogen hypoxia on his scheduled Sept. 22 execution date.

A federal judge pushed for a definite answer, and the Alabama Department of Corrections filed an affidavit in federal court Sept. 15 that backpedaled on the previous statement.

On Sept. 19, U.S. District Judge R. Austin Huffaker Jr. of the Middle District of Alabama issued a ruling preventing the state of Alabama from executing Miller by any method other than nitrogen hypoxia, effectively staying the execution scheduled for Sept. 22.

The State of Alabama has appealed the decision. Additional court filings were expected Thursday.

Nitrogen hypoxia execution:‘Bloodless, but it won’t be simple’

Allegations of lost form to choose nitrogen hypoxia as execution method

In a lawsuit filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, Miller says that the Alabama Department of Corrections lost a form he claims he submitted in 2018 electing to be executed by nitrogen hypoxia.Miller requested that the court enjoin the state from putting him to death by lethal injection.

What is execution by nitrogen hypoxia? Is it painful?

Alabama became the third state in the country to approve nitrogen hypoxia as an execution method in 2018. However, the format has not been used for an execution.

The Alabama Department of Corrections said earlier this month they were nearing a protocol to use nitrogen hypoxia for executions, but it has not yet been finalized.

When Alabama and two other states authorized nitrogen hypoxia, supporters said it was a more humane method of execution. Others, including the U.S. Supreme Court, have said there isn’t yet sufficient evidence to back up that claim.

Because no person has ever been executed by inhaling pure nitrogen — there is seemingly no way to humanely test its use — exactly how the state will carry out a nitrogen hypoxia execution is unclear.

Montgomery Advertiser’s Evan Mealins contributed to this report.


thur sept 22 2022 10:38a CDT mgy REmbr… G is, as G can only BE. GOOD

If I didn’t define myself, I’d be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive. audre lorde

amen. so BE it. laff THRU it…yes. in Time.

In Memory of Akiriyiah (Kirah) McClellan
June 22, 2006 – Feb 16, 2022