Sunday, 19 August, 2018

Alabama to execute man for '94 killing of fast-food workers

Robert Melson Robert Melson's most recent mugshot from the ADOCIvana Hrynkiw
Francis Olson | 09 June, 2017, 11:51

Melson was sentenced to death for the 1994 capital murder of 17-year-old Nathaniel Baker, 18-year old Tamika Collins, and 23-year-old Darrell Collier during an armed robbery of a restaurant in Etowah County.

Melson was convicted for the murders of three Popeye's employees in Gadsden in 1994. He ordered four employees into the restaurant's freezer, then opened fire on them, killing three.

Bryant Archer, who survived the attack, crawled to seek help and identified Melson's accomplice as a former employee of the restaurant.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday temporarily delayed the execution to consider his claim that the state planned to use a drug that would not reliably render him unconscious.

Melson's attorneys wrote in the filing to the Alabama supreme court: "Alabama's execution protocol is an illusion".

Palombi wrote in the motion filed in the 11th Circuit that Melson has a likelihood of winning an appeal on his challenge to midazolam, the first drug in the lethal three-drug method.

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Melson was pronounced dead at 10:27 p.m. local time, following a lethal injection at Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, according to the Associated Press. It creates the illusion of a peaceful death when in truth, it is anything but.

Melson made no last statement and there were no complications with the execution, prison spokesman Bob Horton said.

Justices issued the temporary stay Thursday evening about 15 minutes before 46-year-old Robert Bryant Melson was scheduled to be executed by lethal injection. Melson and other inmates are appealing a judge's dismissal of lawsuits that argues Alabama plans to use the sedative midazolam that has been linked to what they say were problematic executions.

"He has been on death row for over 21 years being supported by the state of Alabama and feels he should not suffer a little pain during the execution". While he could not identify Melson, prosecutors said Melson told police he had been with the former employee that night.

Some states have turned to the sedative as other lethal injection drugs became hard to obtain. "That process can finally begin tonight", Attorney General Steve Marshall said in a statement after the execution.

Melson's attorney argued that midazolam does not anesthetize an inmate, but they might look still, because a second drug, a paralytic, prevents them from moving.

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