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Alabama executes man for '94 killing of fast-food workers

09 June 2017

If the execution goes ahead, it will be the 13th this year in the United States and the second in Alabama in 2017.

Last week, a federal appeals court in Atlanta issued a stay of execution for Melson because of the drug issue. On Tuesday, Melson's attorneys responded to the Supreme Court that the stay blocking the execution should remain in place.

Melson is scheduled to die by lethal injection Thursday at an Alabama prison.

Melson' lawyers wrote that he is scheduled for execution using a protocol "that has never been determined to be constitutional".

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The Alabama attorney general's office has argued midazolam's use has been upheld by the Supreme Court and it has allowed multiple executions to proceed using the drug, including the execution of an Alabama inmate last month. Justices must decide by midnight whether to halt the execution or let it proceed before the death warrant expires.

"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".

"The facts of Mr. Smith's execution were relevant to Mr. Melson's claims, because they describe the horrific results of using midazolam in a way it was never intended - as an anesthetic", Melson's attorneys wrote in the stay request.

The Alabama Supreme Court and the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals have both refused to stop the execution of an Alabama inmate convicted of killing three people during the 1994 robbery of fast food restaurant.

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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.

State prosecutors reported Melson and another man who used to work at a Popeye's in Gadsden robbed the restaurant.

State prosecutors said Melson opened fire on four employees after ordering them into the restaurant's freezer.

The Attorney General's Office has argued that the U.S. Supreme Court and other courts have already ruled that midazolam can be used as part of the lethal injection drug cocktail. 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.

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Alabama executes man for '94 killing of fast-food workers