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Condemned man restates death wish in Las Vegas courtroom

Updated August 17, 2017 - 6:29 pm

Lawyers for condemned Nevada prisoner Scott Dozier, who has pushed for his own execution, filed court papers this week to ensure that the death penalty is carried out legally.

In court Thursday, reiterating his death wish, Dozier indicated he would not be deterred by a potentially problematic lethal injection.

“If they tell me: ‘Listen, there’s a good chance it’s going to be a real miserable experience for you for those two hours before you actually expire, I’m still going to do it,’” he told District Judge Jennifer Togliatti.

Under Nevada law, Dozier and his lawyers must know exactly which drugs will be used seven days before the week of his execution, but there are no rules to ensure the execution protocol itself or other key information will be disclosed.

Among the questions still unanswered by the Nevada Department of Corrections: What is the planned sequence and timing of administering the lethal drug cocktail?

When and how did the state obtain the drugs?

Will a qualified medical professional be present at the execution?

“What we seek is transparency,” Assistant Federal Public Defender David Anthony said. “That’s the concern we have.”

State law prohibits execution by a “dangerous drug” and calls for a felony charge against anyone who administers the drug, “unless the dangerous drug was obtained originally by a legal prescription.”

While the state has not executed an inmate in more than a decade, corrections officials have said they can carry out a fatal injection despite previous reports of futile efforts to obtain the necessary drugs.

In a news release issued Thursday afternoon, the Nevada Department of Corrections revealed the combination of three drugs expected to be used for Dozier’s Nov. 14 execution: Diazepam, which is used to treat muscle spasms; Fentanyl, used for pain; and Cisatracurium, a skeletal muscle relaxant. The release did not disclose how authorities had obtained the drugs.

The condemned 46-year-old man, sent to Nevada’s death row nearly 10 years ago for his second killing, might be the only one with the power to halt his own execution. Less than a year ago, on Oct. 31, Dozier sent a letter to the judge, requesting that his appeal process cease and that he “be put to death.”

A Clark County jury convicted him in September 2007 of killing 22-year-old Jeremiah Miller at the now-closed La Concha Motel and robbing him of $12,000 that Miller had brought from Phoenix to purchase materials to make methamphetamine.

Miller’s torso, cut into two pieces, was found in April 2002 in a suitcase in a trash bin at an apartment complex. His head, lower arms and lower legs never were recovered.

In 2005, Dozier was convicted in Arizona of second-degree murder and given a 22-year prison sentence. In that case, prosecutors said he shot and killed a 27-year-old man, stuffed his body into a plastic container and dumped it in the desert near Phoenix.

Dozier would be the first inmate executed in a Nevada prison since 2006.

On Thursday, Togliatti ordered a deputy from the Nevada attorney general’s office to appear in court next week to provide more clarity on the execution process.

Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Follow @randompoker on Twitter.

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