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Alabama prisoner subjected to 'three hours of pain' in possible longest recorded execution in US

Alabama prisoner subjected to 'three hours of pain' in possible longest recorded execution in US

A human rights organisation has claimed that murderer Joe Nathan James Jr's execution was 'the definition of cruel'

An Alabama prisoner was subjected to 'three hours of pain' in what may have been the longest execution in US history, according to a human rights organisation.

Murderer Joe Nathan James Jr received a lethal injection at a south Alabama prison on 29 July after the US supreme court denied his request for a stay of execution.

He was was pronounced dead at 9.27pm (3.27am on Friday BST), after the start of the procedure was delayed by nearly three hours.

State officials initially insisted that there was 'nothing out of the ordinary' about the execution; however, they later stated that executioners had difficulties establishing the intravenous lines carrying the lethal drugs.

Citing James Jr's autopsy report and an article by The Atlantic, human rights organisation Reprieve US has concluded that the lethal injection began long before media witnesses were admitted at around 9.00pm.

The victim's daughters didn't want him to be executed.
Alabama Department of Corrections

According to The Guardian, the director of Reprieve US, Maya Foa, said in a statement yesterday (Sunday 14 April): "Subjecting a prisoner to three hours of pain and suffering is the definition of cruel and unusual punishment. States cannot continue to pretend that the abhorrent practice of lethal injection is in any way humane."

She added: "This is the latest example of the extreme lengths states will be go to hide the brutal reality of lethal injection because they know the public would oppose it if they found out what was really going on."

UNILAD has reached out to Alabama state prison officials for comment.

James Jr, 50, was convicted and sentenced to death over the 1994 shooting death of Faith Hall, 26, in Birmingham.

Hall's daughters said they would rather James Jr served life in prison, but Alabama governor Kay Ivey let the execution proceed.

Prosecutors said James Jr briefly dated Hall and he became obsessed after she rejected him, stalking and harassing her for months before killing her.

On 15 August 1994, after Hall had been out shopping with a friend, James Jr forced his way inside the friend's apartment, pulled a gun from his waistband and shot Hall three times, according to court documents.

Example of a lethal injection site, the Virginia Lethal Injection center.
Dennis Brack / Alamy Stock Photo

Hall's two daughters, who were three and six when their mother was killed, said they wanted James Jr to serve life in prison instead of being executed. The family members did not attend the execution.

"Today is a tragic day for our family. We are having to relive the hurt that this caused us many years ago," the family's statement issued through state representative Juandalynn Givan's office read. Givan was a friend of Hall's.

"We hoped the state wouldn't take a life simply because a life was taken and we have forgiven Mr Joe Nathan James Jr for his atrocities toward our family.

"We pray that God allows us to find healing after today and that one day our criminal justice system will listen to the cries of families like ours even if it goes against what the state wishes."

Ivey said she always deeply considers the feelings of the victim's family and loved ones, but 'must always fulfil our responsibility to the law, to public safety and to justice'.

She added: "Faith Hall, the victim of repetitive harassment, serious threats and ultimately, cold-blooded murder, was taken from this earth far too soon at the hands of Joe Nathan James Jr.

"Now, after two convictions, a unanimous jury decision and nearly three decades on death row, Mr James has been executed for capital murder, and justice has been served for Faith Hall."

The governor added that an 'unmistakable message was sent that Alabama stands with victims of domestic violence'.

If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677 

Featured Image Credit: Alabama Department of Corrections / Norma Jean Gargasz / Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: US News, Crime