Sister of man subjected to 'three hours of pain' in possible longest US execution calls for investigation

Shola Lee

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Sister of man subjected to 'three hours of pain' in possible longest US execution calls for investigation

Featured Image Credit: Alabama Department of Corrections/Dennis Brack/Alamy Stock Photo

The sister of a man subjected to 'three hours of pain' in what could have been the longest execution in US history has called for an investigation.

Convicted murderer Joe Nathan James Jr was sentenced to death by lethal injection at a south Alabama prison on 29 July.

There was an unexplained three-hour delay during Joe's execution, during which time officials at the Alabama Department of Correction (ADOC) failed to establish an intravenous line for the lethal injection; now his sister, Yvette Craig, has called for an investigation into that delay.

Credit: Alabama Department of Corrections
Credit: Alabama Department of Corrections

Joe was pronounced dead at 9:27 pm local time following the delay in his execution.

While officials insisted that 'nothing out of the ordinary' occurred during the execution, they later explained they had difficulties establishing an intravenous line to administer the lethal drugs to Joe.

Following the execution, human rights organisation Reprieve US argued that the process of administering Joe's lethal injection occurred long before media witnesses were admitted to the facility at 9:00pm.

What's more, Lee Hedgepeth, who attended the execution as a media witness for CBS42, said: "[Joe] James’ eyes were not open at the beginning of the execution, and he appeared motionless, save for his breathing."

Joe's physical condition coupled with the delay in his execution has caused human rights advocates and his family to speak out.

Alabama Department of Corrections. Credit: Chad Robertson/Alamy Stock Photo
Alabama Department of Corrections. Credit: Chad Robertson/Alamy Stock Photo

In an interview with The Guardian, the director of Reprieve US, Maya Foa, said: "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.

"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."

The human rights campaigner was not the only person who spoke out about the execution, with Joe's sister saying: "Only the ADOC employees know what occurred during those three hours.”

Joe's execution was delayed for three hours. Credit: Dennis Brack/Alamy Stock Photo
Joe's execution was delayed for three hours. Credit: Dennis Brack/Alamy Stock Photo

She went on to add that 'at the very least' ADOC Commissioner John Hamm 'should have let the execution warrant expire and revisit the method of execution'.

Yvette continued to say that the three-hour delay and media observation of her brother 'warrants an investigation of Commissioner John Hamm, Governor Kay Ivey, and Attorney General Steve Marshall’s actions leading up to the execution of my brother'.

UNILAD has reached out to the ADOC for comment.

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

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

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

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 

Topics: News, US News

Shola Lee
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