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Fighting clock, Alabama halts execution for evening

AP  |  Atmore (US) 

Fighting a ticking clock and an unresolved legal battle, late Thursday halted plans to execute an inmate saying there would not be time to carry out the that evening.

A on Thursday stayed the execution of 46-year-old to weigh his challenge to Alabama's execution process.

urged the to let them carry out the execution, but prison officials announced at 11:34 pm they would not have time to carry out the that evening even if the court ruled in the state's favor.

Because the death warrant setting Price's execution date expired at midnight, the state will now have to seek a new date if the courts allow the execution to proceed.

Price was convicted of using a sword and dagger to fatally stab Church of in 1991 as he prepared gifts for his grandchildren.

Prosecutors said Lynn, 57, was at his home getting toys ready for his grandchildren when the power was cut. Lynn went outside to check the fuse box when he was killed, according to court filings.

Lynn's wife, Bessie Lynn, testified that she was in an upstairs bedroom watching television when she heard a noise. She said she looked out a window and saw a person dressed in black in a karate stance, holding a sword above her husband's

said she went outside to help her husband, but two men ordered her back in the house and demanded money and any jewelry and weapons they had. An autopsy showed that Lynn had been cut or stabbed more than 30 times.

A second man, Kelvin Coleman, pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to life in prison.

The decision to halt the scheduled execution concluded a lengthy evening as the victim's and the inmate awaited word about whether the courts would let the state proceed with the that was originally scheduled for 6 pm.

members of the slain pastor, including Lynn's wife and daughters, had planned to witness the lethal injection, said.

Price on Wednesday had married his fiance in the visitation yard of the prison, after making a final request to hold the wedding ceremony before his execution.

He ordered two pints of Turtle Tracks ice cream for his final meal. Gov. and state said they would continue to pursue the death sentence for Price.

"This evening, the state of Alabama witnessed a miscarriage of justice," Ivey said in a statement. "This horrendous crime left Pastor Lynn's wife and to grieve, and now, almost 30 years later, the family is still left with no closure," Ivey said.

The last-minute bid to stop the execution centered on Price's request to be put to death by breathing nitrogen gas, an execution method the state has authorized but not used.

Alabama in 2018 authorized nitrogen hypoxia as an alternative for carrying out death sentences. However, the state has not used nitrogen in an execution or developed procedures to do so.

Price's attorneys argued that Alabama's lethal injection drug combination has led to "botched" executions and that nitrogen hypoxia would be less painful.

precedent says inmates challenging a state's method of execution must show that there is an available alternative that is also likely to be less painful.

The state argued in court filings that even though nitrogen hypoxia is authorized under Alabama law, it is unavailable because the state has been unable to "procure the means for executing someone with "

Price's attorneys pointed to the fact that Alabama has allowed inmates to select nitrogen as their preferred execution method.

According to the state, 48 of the more than 170 inmates on death row have elected to be put to death by nitrogen hypoxia. Alabama said Price missed a deadline to select nitrogen as his preferred execution method. Alabama has carried out one execution so far this year. In February, inmate was executed for the 1995 murder of a 15-year-old girl.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, April 12 2019. 13:15 IST
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