Alabama Executes Its First Prisoner In More Than Two Years

Photo: AP Photo.
On Thursday night, Alabama executed Christopher Eugene Brooks, the first death sentence the state has carried out in over two years.

Brooks was executed by lethal injection at 6:38 p.m. on Thursday evening, The Washington Post reports. He was sentenced to death for the 1992 rape and killing of Jo Deann Campbell, though Brooks maintained his innocence. He is the first inmate put to death since 2013.
Brooks' execution was delayed because of the state of Alabama's difficulties in finding a reliable drug combination for the lethal injection. States have been having consistent trouble finding drugs for executions. Pharmaceutical companies, wary of bad publicity, have begun prohibiting the sale of their drugs for use in executions. As a result, states have been scrambling to find new drug combinations — often untested and unreliable — and alternate methods for executions. Lawmakers in Utah recently voted to reinstate firing squads as a means of capital punishment.
Brooks had appealed his sentence on the basis that an untested cocktail of drugs violated his rights under the Eighth Amendment of the U.S Constitution, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. At question is the use of the sedative midazolam, which has been involved in several botched executions, including one in Oklahoma two years ago. In that execution, the inmate appeared to regain consciousness and writhed on the gurney before dying. In another execution in Arizona, the inmate took nearly two hours to die after lethal injection.

The faulty-drug argument worked for another prisoner, Richard Glossip, who was granted a last-minute stay of execution a bare 30 minutes before his scheduled lethal injection. Glossip, whose case has raised serious questions about wrongful conviction and capital punishment in America, is awaiting a new execution date.

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