Condemned killer Scott Dozier, urging his own execution, was back in front of a judge Tuesday for the first time since he was supposed to die.
He told District Judge Jennifer Togliatti, who last month delayed the execution, that he doesn’t object to the use of a paralytic drug in his lethal injection, though it could mask suffering. In response, prosecutors asked the judge to reconsider her previous ruling.
But the man convicted of two killings, including the 2002 Las Vegas murder of 22-year-old Jeremiah Miller, whose body was mutilated and stuffed in a suitcase, must continue to wait for his death wish to be granted.
“We had I-don’t-know-how-many conversations where I said, ‘Be careful what you wish for,’” Togliatti told Dozier, who appeared via videoconference from Ely State Prison. “There’s just a certain amount of manipulation of the court process I’m not going to allow. You pursued this relief, you got this relief, and now you want a do-over, I guess.”
Through his lawyers with the federal public defender’s office, Dozier had asked for a review of a drug known as cisatracurium, one of three drugs in the execution protocol.
Togliatti ruled that using it in combination with Valium and fentanyl was too risky. And after the judge struck the paralytic from the protocol, lawyers for the Nevada Department of Corrections initially said they would not continue with the execution.
“My contention with my counsel has always been that, with sufficient fentanyl, I was OK with the paralytic,” Dozier said Tuesday. “I recognize I represented to you that the paralytic was important to be removed. It is still important to the federal public defender’s office to be removed. I personally am not concerned with the paralytic.”
Dozier’s lawyers argue that ensuring an unbotched execution is about more than the inmate who wants to die at the moment.
All but one of the 12 executions carried out in Nevada since the death penalty was reinstated have been conducted on inmates, like Dozier, who asked to be killed.
After the judge ordered the paralytic drug removed, prison attorneys were granted a stay and the Nevada Supreme Court was expected to review the process of lethal injection.
Then Dozier sent the judge a letter saying he didn’t mind suffering. That’s when prosecutors asked the judge to reconsider her decision.
Dozier’s lawyers argued that the judge’s order should stand.
“Now that NDOC’s feigned concern for the humaneness of the execution has been exposed as a sham, the only reasonable interpretation of its prior conduct is that it was intended to goad Mr. Dozier, a volunteer, into submitting to a torturous execution,” the lawyers wrote in court papers. “NDOC sought and obtained the stay of execution which caused Mr. Dozier to submit the very letter it now relies upon to argue the case is moot.”
For more than a year, Dozier has reiterated to the judge in court and in writing that he was “resolute and steadfast” in his death wish.
The state’s last execution occurred in April 2006, when Daryl Mack, another man who dropped his appeals, was put to death.
Lawyers in the Dozier case are expected back in Togliatti’s courtroom next month.