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Execution in Alabama After 11th Cir. Denies Death Row Inmate's Stay

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By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. on January 22, 2016 12:59 PM

Yesterday, January 21, 2016, death row inmate Christopher Eugene brooks died by lethal injection for the rape and killing of a Homewood, Alabama woman in 1992. The Eleventh Circuit denied his denied his request for a stay of his execution, and the clock is running.

Since SCOTUS didn't step in to hear his case, his death marks the first lethal injection death in Alabama ever since the state changed the composition of its lethal injection cocktail. The recipe of that fatal brew is itself a matter of much contention.

Time and Place

Brooks was executed at Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Alabama. His lawyer sent the necessary calls for help to the Alabama governor and the U.S. Supreme Court, but without success.

Lethal Injection Cocktail

One of the legal issues that could possibly have saved Brooks' life was the constitutionality of the lethal drug combination. In particular, the second and third chemicals injected into the inmate-victim are highly highly controversial.

There are claims that by that stage of injection, the inmate is rendered completely without power of movement and communication, but is essentially tortured to death through extreme pain after the second and third chemicals enter his bloodstream. Such claims came to light initially when it was discovered that the sedating chemical, midazolam hydrochloride, was connected to at least four executions gone wrong in states that include Florida, Ohio, Arizona, and Oklahoma.

The 1992 Crime

Brooks was tried and convicted in late 1992 for the rape-and-murder of a young woman in her twenties, Ms. Jo Deann Campbell. The evidence against him was compelling, including DNA, fingerprints and other circumstantial items found in his car that police knew belonged to the victim. So far he has maintained his innocence.

It's been more than 20 years since Ms. Campbell's death.

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