MONTGOMERY, Ala — An Alabama inmate said prison staff poked him with needles for over an hour as they tried to find a vein during an aborted lethal injection last month. At one point, they left him hanging vertically on a gurney before state officials made the decision to call off the execution.
Attorneys for 57-year-old Alan Eugene Miller wrote about his experience during Alabama’s Sept. 22 execution attempt in a court filing made last week. Miller’s attorneys are trying to block the state from trying a second lethal injection.
Two men in scrubs used needles to repeatedly probe Miller’s arms, legs, feet and hands, at one point using a cell phone flashlight to help their search for a vein, according to the Oct. 6 court filings. The attorneys called Miller the “only living execution survivor in the United States” and said Alabama subjected Miller “to precisely the unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain that the Eighth Amendment was intended to prohibit.”
Alabama has asked the state Supreme Court to set a new execution date for Miller, saying the execution was canceled only because of a time issue as the state faced a midnight deadline to get the lethal injection underway.
“Despite this failed execution, the physical and mental torture it inflicted upon Mr. Miller, and the fact that the Defendants have now botched three lethal injection executions in just four years, Defendants relentlessly seek to execute Mr. Miller again—presumably by lethal injection,” attorneys for Miller wrote, referencing an execution that was canceled and another that took three hours to get underway.
“What then, in Defendants’ view, is a constitutional amount of time to spend stabbing someone with needles in an attempt to kill them?” his attorneys wrote.
The 351-pound inmate testified in an earlier court hearing that medical