Legal hurdles stalled Nevada inmate’s path to death

Updated July 8, 2018 - 6:54 pm

Scott Dozier murdered two men and, after almost a decade behind bars, said he wanted to die.

His case has spent another two years working through the court system, including a ruling from the Nevada Supreme Court, and now the state is ready to kill him.

In October 2016, the death row inmate wrote a letter to District Judge Jennifer Togliatti, who oversaw his trial when he was convicted of his second murder and sentenced to death. He wanted to waive his appeals and have his sentence carried out, he wrote.

Less than a month ago, Togliatti signed a new execution warrant for the condemned man, and his lethal injection is scheduled for 8 p.m. Wednesday in an unused $860,000 execution chamber at Ely State Prison.

As recently as Friday afternoon, after a petition from the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, a judge in Carson City ordered prison officials to disclose how three drugs to be used in Dozier’s execution were obtained.

The most controversial drug, midazolam, was purchased in May from the state’s regular pharmaceutical distributor, Cardinal Health, and manufactured by pharmaceutical company Alvogen, according to documents released Friday.

Midazolam has been banned for executions in Arizona and its use has been criticized by civil rights groups across the country.

Dozier’s lawyers have pushed to ensure that his execution would not cause suffering, examining the use of a paralytic drug in the never-before-used lethal injection cocktail.

A doctor testified that the drug, cisatracurium, could mask discomfort, such as convulsions or clenched fists. But Dozier’s attorneys stood by an agreement with the man who has, in his own words, remained “steadfast and resolute” in his wish to die.

Now 47, Dozier would be the first inmate executed in Nevada since 2006. If his killing happens, he will be the 13th prisoner executed this year in the United States, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

A Clark County jury convicted him in September 2007 of killing 22-year-old Jeremiah Miller at the now-closed La Concha Motel. In 2005, Dozier was convicted in Arizona of second-degree murder in another case.

Attorneys for the state have argued that under the suggested protocol, which also includes the painkiller fentanyl, Dozier would not suffer.Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Follow @randompoker on Twitter.

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