Judge paves way for convicted killer Scott Dozier’s execution

Scott Dozier may soon get his death wish.

District Judge Jennifer Togliatti on Tuesday ordered prosecutors to write an execution warrant for the convicted killer and deliver it to her next week. Once she signs the order, state law requires the act be carried out in no less than 60 days and no more than 90 days, which means Dozier could be dead by the end of October.

And now Nevada Department of Corrections officials say they can carry out a fatal injection, despite previous reports of futile efforts to obtain the drug cocktail for lethal injection.

“If we are court-ordered to do it, we could make it happen,” said prison spokeswoman Brooke Keast, though she could not elaborate on how.

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, 2016, Dozier sent a letter to the judge, requesting that his appeal process cease and he “be put to death.”

Togliatti ordered a mental evaluation to ensure Dozier fully understood his request.

On Tuesday, the judge read from a doctor’s 13-page evaluation, which found “no grounds — health, mental, psychological or otherwise — that would impede the defendant choosing to negate his rights to postconviction and have the death sentence imposed.”

Dozier was not in court Tuesday, but he is expected at a July 27 hearing, when the judge could sign off on his execution. Earlier this year, he told Togliatti: “My goal is to be executed, first and foremost.”

His lawyer, Tom Ericsson, told the judge Tuesday that Dozier’s position remains the same.

“Mr. Dozier’s been representing to me that he is still set on waiving his appellate rights, and he’s doing that, obviously, against my counsel and direction,” Ericsson said. “He seems quite adamant about that, as of this time.”

Dozier was sentenced to die in December 2007 after a four-week trial for the murder and mutilation of an Arizona man in a Strip hotel.

A Clark County jury convicted him 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 Las Vegas 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.

If the state is unable to carry out Dozier’s execution, he wants the legal right to proceed with postconviction appeals, his lawyer told the judge. Prosecutors didn’t argue.

Less than a month before Dozier stopped his appeals, prison officials announced that they had sent out 247 requests for proposals after a stockpile of at least one drug used in executions expired, and not one response was received.

Nevada’s last execution, by lethal injection, occurred at the Nevada State Prison in April 2006.

The state has executed 12 inmates since capital punishment was reinstated by the Nevada Legislature in 1977. All but one were inmates who, like Dozier, voluntarily gave up their appeals.

Legal experts said Dozier could ask to stop his execution up to the eleventh hour, or a third party without direct connections to the case, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, could try.

Defense attorney Scott Coffee, who has handled roughly 20 death penalty cases in the past 15 years and analyzes capital punishment across the country, expects some sort of intervention.

“Where do you get to the point that he’s gone too far, and he can no longer take it back?” Coffee said. “That’s an ongoing question, and I don’t think that question’s resolved anyplace.

“If Dozier is executed, it’s not because the state wanted it. It’s because he wanted it. If it goes through, I don’t know how you call this anything other than a state-assisted suicide.”

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

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