A recently filed federal lawsuit claims that an Alabama death row inmate survived a “botched execution” that lasted 90 minutes as workers continuously—and unsuccessfully—searched for his veins.
According to The Miami Herald, prisoner Alan Miller was then left alone—hanging on a gurney with multiple needle puncture wounds—for more than 20 minutes, wondering whether the prison staff would resume or reschedule his education.
The event, says Miller, was akin to “torture.”
“It is difficult to overstate the mental — and eventually physical — anguish that Mr. Miller experienced on the night of September 22 into the early morning hours of September 23,” the lawsuit states.
“Mr. Miller felt nauseous, disoriented, confused, and fearful about whether he was about to be killed, and was deeply disturbed by his view of state employees silently staring at him from the observation room while he was hanging vertically from the gurney,” the complaint says. “Blood was leaking from some of Mr. Miller’s wounds.”
“Defendants’ insistence on continuing to execute Mr. Miller via lethal injection can only be considered intent to inflict unnecessary pain and suffering on him,” it adds.
Miller had previously asked the Supreme Court to stay his execution; however, the justices refused his motion, and instructed Alabama that it could continue the procedure as planned.
Now, attorneys for Miller say that their client is “the only living execution survivor in the United States.”
Miller, notes the Herald, was sentenced to death for his role in two fatal workplace shootings in 1999 that left three men dead.
A month before Miller was scheduled to be executed, he filed a legal complaint against several corrections and law enforcement officials, including John Q. Hamm, commissioner of the Alabama Department of Corrections; Terry Raybon, the warden of Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Alabama; and state Attorney General Steve Marshall.
In his complaint, Miller claimed that he had faced “constitutionally inadequate treatment” while in prison.
Since surviving the execution, Miller has amended his existing lawsuit to include references to the failed lethal injection.
Somewhat interestingly, Miller and his attorneys say that Alabama officials are again rushing Miller to the execution chamber, hoping that his death will end the litigation.
“Defendants are well aware that if they kill Mr. Miller, this litigation—and all judicial scrutiny of their constitutional violations against Mr. Miller — becomes moot,” the revised lawsuit states.
The lawsuit, adds the Herald¸ seeks to prevent Miller’s execution by lethal injection and to recover compensatory damages for the failed execution attempt.