‘Life in prison isn’t a life,’ says Nevada inmate as execution nears

Updated July 8, 2018 - 6:51 pm

Scott Dozier’s final 48 hours will be tightly controlled, much like the last decade of his life. They will include limited time on the prison yard, his final shower and, of course, his last meal.

Each of his steps will be followed by a team of prison officers, some of whom will record the steps with a hand-held camera.

The condemned 47-year-old man, who was convicted in 2007 of killing 22-year-old Jeremiah Miller at the now-closed La Concha motel, will speak with family and the warden. A manual that details the moments leading up to Nevada’s first execution in 12 years also allows Dozier to meet with a spiritual adviser, should he wish, though that’s unlikely, given his beliefs. Should the procedure work as planned, Dozier will be dead by 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

In a Sunday morning phone call to a Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter, Dozier called himself an atheist and said he expects nothingness when he dies.

“I don’t have any grand expectations,” he told the reporter in a prison-monitored call that lasted less than 10 minutes. “I think it’s just done. I think it’s just black.”

A three-drug cocktail of midazolam, a sedative; the painkiller fentanyl; and cisatracurium, a paralytic, is expected to end his life at Ely State Prison.

From a legal perspective, there’s little that can stop the execution that Dozier requested in October 2016, when he waived his appeals.

But his words or actions could halt his death, even after the process starts.

“It must be understood that after the infusion of the lethal drugs has begun the execution may still be stopped,” the execution manual reads, “but the inmate’s respiratory and cardiovascular systems will be progressively more compromised. If the execution is ordered to be stopped at any point after the infusion of the lethal drugs has begun, all reasonable attempts to save the inmate’s life will be made by the attending physician and medical personnel present using equipment that will be made available for that possible contingency.”

Before the injection, direct lines will be cleared to Gov. Brian Sandoval, Attorney General Adam Laxalt, a federal court clerk, a state court clerk and District Judge Jennifer Togliatti, who signed Dozier’s execution warrant last month.

Controversial drug

The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada filed an emergency petition last week, asking for more transparency in the execution process. But that legal action is unlikely to prevent the execution from going forward.

On the same day, prison officials released a heavily redacted execution manual, which included the state’s use of midazolam, a highly controversial drug obtained in May. Critics say the drug, banned in Arizona, led to botched executions in other states.

“Unless we uncover something extraordinary through our records request, Mr. Dozier is the only one who can stop his execution at this point,” ACLU spokesman Wesley Juhl said.

Dozier described the use of midazolam in an untested execution cocktail as “a little weird.”

He has read about previous reactions to injections and expressed concern that the drug could cause him to say or do something “out of character” that would appear to contradict his death wish.

“Let’s just hope I don’t do anything (expletive) ridiculous,” he said.

Dozier’s lead attorney, Tom Ericsson, has made clear in court that the prisoner is proceeding against legal advice.

But Dozier has not wavered in his wish to die. He said he first started speaking with family members about waiving his appeals as early as 2011.

“Life in prison isn’t a life,” he said. “This isn’t living, man. It’s just surviving.”

He later added, “If people say they’re going to kill me, get to it.”

Ericsson told the Review-Journal on Friday that he knew of no outside entities that could step in and block the killing.

“It’s his choice, and an attorney can’t stop him from going down this path,” Ericsson said.

Despite the reports of troubles in executions where midazolam has been used, Dozier “made it very clear he doesn’t want anybody filing anything related to the drug protocol,” the lawyer added.

‘State-assisted suicide’

Defense attorney Scott Coffee, who has handled roughly 20 death penalty cases and analyzes capital punishment across the country, said that in order to delay the execution, a person, such as a family member, or group would need legal standing.

“With nobody asking that’s in a position to ask, nothing’s going to get done,” Coffee said. “Dozier wants state-assisted suicide, and because the state’s willing to accommodate, this is a vastly accelerated situation.”

The execution manual describes what are expected to be Dozier’s final moments in exact detail.

According to the plan, he will be placed in restraints before prison guards tell the warden he is ready to enter the execution area chamber room.

He will be escorted to the death table and secured to it with a set of soft restraints. A support will be slipped under his head, and the table will be maneuvered so that Dozier lies supine in what is known as the reverse Trendelenburg position, with his feet 15 to 30 degrees lower than his head.

A guard will announce, “Inmate secured.”

His veins will be punctured, and a technician will attach cardiac leads.

Once the guards and technician exit the room, only Dozier and the warden, Isidro Baca, will remain.

Baca will direct the lights to be dimmed and will open the viewing room blinds. Among the witnesses will be seven journalists, including a Review-Journal reporter. The warden will tell Dozier that those watching can now hear his last words.

The prison director then will contact the attorney general and governor to ensure that no stay of execution has been ordered.

“If none exists, the director will inform the warden to proceed with the execution,” the protocol states.

And the drips of death will begin. Midazolam first, fentanyl second and cisatracurium last.

As Dozier fades, an attending physician will check a cardiac monitor, the protocol explains, “until all signs of electrical activity of the heart have ceased.”

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

ad-high_impact_4
Local
Family remembers deceased mother
Family members of Adriann Gallegos remember her. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Camp Broadway teaches kids how to sing and dance
The Smith Center's seventh annual Camp Broadway musical theater program gives 150 kids ages 6-17 an opportunity to learn musical theater skills from industry professionals over a five-day period. Marcus Villagran/ Las Vegas Review-Journal @brokejournalist
Restoring classic Corvettes to perfection
Members of the National Corvette Restorers Society Convention talk about what it takes to earn the NCRS Top Flight Award for a restored Corvette at South Point in Las Vegas on Tuesday July 17, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Watch Ruthless! at Las Vegas Little Theatre
The musical Ruthless! will be playing at Las Vegas Little Theatre from July 13-29. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Cadaver art and sword swallowing at The Dark Arts Market
Curator Erin Emrie talks about her inspiration for The Dark Arts Market at Cornish Pasty Co. in Las Vegas Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
'NO H8' Campaign comes to Las Vegas
Hundreds of locals participate in the NO H8 campaign founded by Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley as a response to Proposition 8, a California ban on same-sex marriage. The campaign has since evolved to represent equal treatment for all. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
What to expect at Station Casinos' Fourth of July celebration
Station Casinos' is hosting its annual 4th of July celebration with Fireworks by Grucci. Fireworks scheduled to go off on Wednesday, July 4 around 9 p.m. at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Red Rock Resort, Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Star Wars and Golden Knights mashup at downtown art shop
Star Wars and Vegas Golden Knights fans attend the Boba Fett Golden Knight Paint Class at The Bubblegum Gallery in Las Vegas, Friday, June 29, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Tourists and locals enjoy Independence Day fireworks at Caesars Palace
Hundreds of tourists and locals gaze at the Independence Day fireworks show at Caesars Palace on Saturday, June 30, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Clark County recount votes in commission’s District E primary
Clark County staff begin the recount requested by candidate Marco Hernandez in the democratic primary for the County Commission's District E seat on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Long-running local hip hop producer wants Vegas rappers to shine
Las Vegas Hip Hop producer and co-owner of Digital Insight Recording Studios Tiger Stylz reflects on 30 years of music production in the city. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
"Pawn Stars" fans visit Richard Harrison's memorial at Gold & Silver Pawn
"Pawn Stars" fans from around the world visit the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas following the passing of Richard "Old Man" Harrison on Monday, June 25, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Construction for new 51s ballpark underway
New home of the Las Vegas 51s is planned to be finished by March 2019 in Summerlin according to team president Don Logan. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Underground home was built as Cold War-era hideaway
The underground house at 3970 Spencer Street is one of the valley’s most unusual homes built 26 feet underground in 1978 by Girard “Jerry” B. Henderson, who, planned to survive the end of the world there.
Lip Smacking Foodie Tours takes you where the locals go
Donald Contursi talks about Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, which offers walking tours of restaurants on and off Las Vegas Boulevard with food samples and tidbits of history about the places they visit.
Crime
Las Vegas judge’s ruling will halt tonight’s execution
On Wednesday Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez issued a ruling that will halt the execution of convicted murderer Scott Dozier. Alvogen Inc., which makes the sedative midazolam, filed a lawsuit Tuesday accusing the Nevada Department of Corrections of surreptitiously obtaining the drug for use in an execution.
3 people shot in southeast Las Vegas
Three men were shot Thursday night in southeast Las Vegas, and two of them have life threatening injuries. Las Vegas police responded to the incident just after 10 p.m. on the 5000 block of Mountain Vista Street. The investigation is in its early stages and police were unable to describe the suspect or say how man people they think were involved. Police encourage anyone with information regarding this shooting to call Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555, or 3-1-1
Robbery suspects apprehended
Four robbery suspects were taken into custody Thursday morning after a vehicle and foot chase that ended in an east Las Vegas neighborhood. The incident began when a person was robbed at gunpoint around 4:45 a.m. near Maryland Parkway and Desert Inn. Officers arriving at the scene tried to stop two vehicles. One vehicle escaped but police chased the second into a neighborhood on Flamingo Road near Mountain Vista Street. Police surrounded the neighborhood and the suspects were apprehended. It looked like one police vehicle was involved in a collision with the suspects' car. One woman suffered an unknown injury and was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. 01:04
Las Vegas police looking for robbery suspects
Two robbers who recently targeted three Las Vegas businesses remained at large Tuesday and police are asking the public to help identify them. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Metro Capt. Jaime Prosser gives update of officer-involved shooting
Metro Capt. Jaime Prosser provides an update about an officer-involved shooting at Radwick Drive and Owens Avenue in the northeast Las Vegas on Thursday. A robbery suspect was shot and killed. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
LVMPD Looking For Robbery Suspect
The LVMPD Commercial Robbery Section is attempting to identify the pictured suspect who is responsible for committing robberies to businesses in the southern part of the Las Vegas Valley during the month of May 2018. The suspect enters the business, threatens the employee with a firearm and demands money from the register. The employee complies and the suspect flees the business.
North Las Vegas police are investigating a triple shooting that left one man dead
North Las Vegas police are investigating a triple shooting that left one man dead at 2500 block of Ellis St., on Friday, June 8, 2018. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
1 dead in shooting at southwest Las Vegas home
A dispute between roommates led to the fatal shooting of one man in the backyard of their southwest Las Vegas Valley home on Monday, April 23, 2018. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like