For the first time in two years Stat of Alabama executed a prisoner from Death Row – using its brand new three-drug combination lethal injection.
Late on Tuesday, the US 11th Circuit Court of Appeals denied a lawsuit filed by lawyers questioning the constitutionality of the combination injection.
The new decision paves the way for the sentence to be carried out on Christopher Eugene Brooks, 43, at the Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore on Thursday.
Brooks was convicted of the December 1992 rape and murder of 23-year-old Jo Deann Campbell, who he met at a summer camp in upstate New York.
Campbell’s partially-clothed body was found under the bed in her Homewood apartment on 31st December, the day after she was seen speaking to Brooks in a restaurant.
Court records indicate fingerprint evidence and analysis of semen found on the body were consistent with samples taken from Brooks.
The last time Alabama executed an inmate was 2013. Since then legal wrangling and problems over the state’s preferred lethal injection have put a stop to death sentences being carried out.
The failed lawsuit launched by Brooks and five other inmates claimed that’s Alabama’s new injection combination – which includes the drugs midazolam, rocuronium bromide, and potassium chloride – created a substantial risk of breaching the 8th Amendment’s clause on Cruel and Unusual Punishment.
The trial court denied Brook’s application for a stay on the grounds he had failed to indicate a feasible alternative method of execution, as required by case law.
At his original trial, the jury had recommended 11-1 for the death sentence.
The state of Alabama argues the new drug combination is “virtually identical” to the one used – without problem – by Florida.
Lawyers for Brooks, however, have argued midazolam was involved in problematic recent executions, including one in Oklahoma where prisoner Clayton Lockett took some 43 minutes to die.