By David Beasley
ATLANTA (Reuters) – Alabama on Thursday executed a man convicted of killing a police officer in 1997 by shooting him multiple times in his patrol car, prison officials said.
Torrey McNabb, 40, was pronounced dead at 9:38 p.m. (0238 GMT) at the Hollman Correctional Facility in Atmore. He was convicted of killing Montgomery police officer Anderson Gordon as he sat in his cruiser, according to court records.
“Mom, Sis, look at my eyes. I have no tears in my eyes. I’m unafraid,” he was quoted as saying in his final statement by prison officials. He then expressed his dissatisfaction with Alabama, the officials said.
A witness testified that McNabb walked up to Gordon’s patrol car and begin firing.
Earlier in the day, McNabb shot at a bounty hunter who was trying to arrest him for failing to appear for two court appearances relating to charges of receiving stolen property and possessing a controlled substance, court records showed.
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey said in a statement: “Mr. McNabb chose to murder Officer Anderson Gordon for simply trying to talk to him. Courts at every level have upheld Mr. McNabb’s conviction for his senseless act.”
The execution was the 21st in the United States this year, surpassing the 20 in 2016.
One reason for the increase is that states including Arkansas, which faced legal challenges over its lethal injection protocols, have resumed executions after procuring drugs and receiving court approval.
On Monday, a federal judge in Alabama stayed McNabb’s execution to allow him time to challenge the state’s use of midazolam, But shortly before McNabb’s execution, the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday lifted a stay that had halted the execution.
The valium-like drug had been used in flawed executions in Oklahoma and Arizona where inmates were seen by witnesses as writhing in pain on death chamber gurneys.
Lawyers for death-row inmates have argued the drug cannot achieve the level of unconsciousness required for surgery, making it unsuitable for executions and subjecting inmates to pain caused by other drugs in the lethal injection mixes.
Lawyers for Alabama argued midazolam puts a person into a deep coma, which has been disputed by medical experts.
In its order on Thursday, the Supreme Court said that the lower court abused its discretion in ordering the stay because it did not find that McNabb had “a significant possibility of success on the merits,” the order said.
(Reporting by David Beasley; Additional reporting by Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas; Editing by Patrick Enright and Peter Cooney)
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