Political News

Execution dates set for 2 Alabama inmates

Posted September 15

— The Alabama Supreme Court has set execution dates for two state inmates, including one who unsuccessfully challenged the state's lethal injection process as cruel and unusual punishment.

Tommy Arthur is scheduled to be executed on Nov. 3 and Ronald Bert Smith Jr. on Dec. 8. The court determined both dates late Wednesday.

Arthur was convicted of the 1982 murder-for-hire of Muscle Shoals businessman Troy Wicker. He has been given an execution date on six previous occasions, but has challenged the state's execution methods as unconstitutional. The Alabama attorney general's office in July had asked the court to set an "expedited seventh execution date" after a federal judge dismissed Arthur's most recent challenge. Arthur is appealing, according to federal court records.

Smith was convicted in the 1994 robbery and slaying of Huntsville convenience store clerk Casey Wilson. A jury, in a 7-5 vote, recommended a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole, according to court records. The trial judge, however, sentenced Smith to death.

Alabama is seeking to resume executions after a more-than-two-year lull as the state faced a scarcity of lethal injection drugs and ongoing litigation over the death penalty.

The state in January carried out its first execution since 2013.

An appellate court in May halted the execution of Vernon Madison just hours before he was scheduled to be put to death. Madison was convicted in the 1985 killing of a Mobile police officer. His lawyers argued that stroke-induced dementia left him without a rational understanding of his impending execution.

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