Thomas Arthur - AL - 2/19/15 - STAYED

Started by Grinning Grim Reaper, December 30, 2014, 03:40:41 PM

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Grinning Grim Reaper

AL sets execution time for Tommy Arthur

 ATMORE, AL (WSFA) - The Alabama Department of Corrections has set an execution time for Thomas Arthur. He is scheduled to die by lethal injection at 6 p.m. on May 25 at Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore.

 Arthur, now 75, was convicted in the 1982 murder-for-hire of Troy Wicker of Muscle Shoals and sentenced to death.

 Arthur saw two trials end with overturned convictions before a third in 1990 reached a final guilty verdict. He asked the jury to sentence him to death, a move he thought would get him more time for appeals, though he has always maintained his innocence.

 Over the following decades, Arthur has sat on death row and seen seven execution dates come and go because of court-ordered temporary stays.

Recently, though, Arthur has suffered a string of legal defeats in his battle to avoid execution.

 In January the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a petition by Arthur and two other death row inmates challenging the constitutionality of Alabama's capital punishment sentencing law. In April, the Supreme Court again declined to hear his request to reconsider the appeal.

 In late April Gov. Kay Ivey rejected his request for additional DNA testing on evidence in the case.

I think this cat has finally run out of lives.   8)
Vengence is mine saith the Lord...who are we to question the instruments used to carry it out?

Grinning Grim Reaper

Alabama Death Row Inmate Tommy Arthur Pleads for Eighth Reprieve

 Seven times, Tommy Arthur has escaped death. With his eighth execution date less than a week away, he phoned from an Alabama prison to talk about the increasingly slim chance that his lethal injection will be called off yet again.

 "Until I take my last breath I'll have hope," Arthur, who has been on death row for almost 35 years, told NBC News on Friday. "I don't know how to quit. I don't know how to give up."

 He has the paperwork to prove it. Sentenced to death for a 1982 contract killing he insists he didn't commit, Arthur has filed a mountain of challenges, many of them successful -- at least in the short run.

 The U.S. Supreme Court halted his last scheduled execution six months ago but later declined to take up his case. More recent appeals have been rejected, and while Arthur's attorneys are continuing to fight, the prospects for another reprieve are growing dimmer.

 Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey last month shot down a request for new, enhanced DNA testing of a wig from the crime scene, which Arthur, 75, contends will prove that someone else is responsible for the murder of Troy Wicker. She's considering a request to test a hair he claims was collected.

 "There is evidence in the evidence box that can be and should be DNA tested and they are not doing it," he said. "I asked them, 'Please don't let Alabama kill me without testing it.'

 "Honest to goodness," said Arthur, who was found guilty by three different juries, "I did not commit this crime."

 Arthur's odyssey through the justice system began in 1977. That's when he was sentenced to life for fatally shooting his sister-in-law through the eye. He joined a work release program, and according to court records, began an affair with a married woman named Judy Wicker.

 By prosecutors' account, Wicker offered Arthur $10,000 to kill her husband, Troy. Arthur dressed up as a black man, in an Afro wig, and shot the sleeping man through his eye, prosecutors say.

 Arthur and Judy Wicker, who initially claimed a burglar raped her and killed her husband, were convicted at separate trials.

 But Arthur's first conviction was overturned because the court found details of the earlier killing were improperly disclosed during the trial. He was tried and convicted again, and that verdict was tossed over a statement he gave to police without a lawyer present.

 At Arthur's third trial in 1992, Judy Wicker testified and named him as the hitman for the first time; she was paroled soon after. Arthur was convicted and sentenced to death for a third time -- after telling the jury he wanted a capital sentence because, he said, it would give him better tools to appeal the verdict.

 The third conviction stuck -- and the Alabama Supreme Court set execution dates in 2001, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2015 and 2016.

 Each time, they were postponed, once after a fellow inmate claimed in writing that he was the real killer, only to clam up on the stand during a hearing where Judy Wicker again swore Arthur was the gunman.

 Arthur is now the third longest-serving death-row inmate in Alabama, where the legislature just passed a measure that would hasten executions by speeding up appeals. He has several pending appeals that have to be resolved before his May 25 execution date.

 One challenges Alabama's lethal injection protocol, which uses the controversial sedative midazolam, on the grounds that it will cause suffering. It cites the December execution of Ronald Smith, who witnesses said heaved and coughed for 13 minutes and moved his arm during a consciousness check.

 "It's inevitable that I'm going to have some problems if they execute me," Arthur said.

 Another appeal attacks the state's former sentencing scheme, which allowed judges to overrule juries and impose death sentences and which the governor just overturned.

 Arthur, who has encyclopedic knowledge of his case, is most focused on another avenue: his quest to have the killer's wig subjected to a new type of DNA testing that could turn up genetic material that might have been missed by earlier tests.

 On April 26, the governor's counsel turned down that petition, saying it "merely recycles the same request and contention made by Arthur for more testing on a piece of evidence that has been shown to contain no DNA profile."

 Arthur said he doesn't understand the state's reluctance. "Why won't they let this testing take place? What would it hurt?" he asked.

 His lead attorney, Suhana Han, said that "neither a fingerprint nor a weapon nor any other physical evidence" links Arthur to the crime.

 "If the state executes Mr. Arthur on May 25 as planned, he will die without ever having had a meaningful opportunity to prove his innocence, an outcome that is inexcusable in a civilized society."

 An advocacy group called Victims of Crime and Leniency said the courts have given Arthur enough second chances over the last three decades.

 "He's Houdini," said Janette Grantham, the executive director. "He escapes and he escapes."

 She said that for many years, she had been in contact with Troy Wicker's sister, who showed up for several executions that were then called off at the last minute.

 "She died a couple of months ago so she won't make it to the final execution," Grantham said. "To me, that is very sad."

 However the courts rule, Arthur said, he does not plan to apply for clemency; in his view, it would amount to an admission of guilt.

 "I'm not interested," he said. "I could have pleaded guilty to this in 1982 and taken a straight life sentence but I'm not going to plead guilty to something I just didn't do."
Vengence is mine saith the Lord...who are we to question the instruments used to carry it out?

Grinning Grim Reaper

Court reverses death row inmate case; Attorney General says execution still on

 Alabama Death Row inmate Tommy Arthur won a victory in court Tuesday, just two days before his scheduled execution, when a state appeals court reversed a judge's ruling that rejected Arthur's claim that the legislature, not the prison system, should decide on the method of execution.

 But the Alabama Attorney General's Office says the ruling won't stop plans for Arthur's execution Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Holman Correctional Facility.

"I consulted with our capital litigation team. The Thomas Arthur execution is not off. No change," Mike Lewis, spokesman for the Attorney General's Office wrote in an email to

 Arthur's attorneys also agreed that the ruling does not stay the execution.

 It is the eighth time since 2001 that the state has set an execution for Arthur for his conviction in the 1982 shooting death of Troy Wicker.

 The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals on Tuesday afternoon reversed the ruling last month by Montgomery Circuit Judge Truman Hobbs. "This matter is remanded to that court for it to vacate its judgment and transfer the case to the Jefferson Circuit Court ... Once the matter is transferred to the Jefferson Circuit Court, that court should hold it in abeyance until this Court issues its certificate of judgment," according to the appeals court ruling.

 The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals does not rule that Arthur's challenge is correct, just that Hobbs should have transferred it to the Jefferson Circuit Court, the court in which Arthur was convicted.

 Arthur's attorneys had argued that one reason why Arthur should not be executed is because the Alabama Legislature, not the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC), should be the one to decide what lethal injection drugs should be used for executions, according to Arthur's motion.

 The prison system also has been secretive about its' lethal injection drugs and is withholding review of public records on the last two executions, which the motion says were botched, Arthur's motion states.

 "The Legislature's abdication of its role to set the state's execution law violates the improper delegation doctrine and the Alabama Constitution," Arthur's motion stated. "The role of the legislature is particularly critical given the controversial nature of the ADOC's current midazolam-based execution protocol."

 ADOC's current lethal injection protocol uses three drugs: midazolam, a sedative that is used in medical practice to reduce anxiety; procuronium bromide, a paralytic; and potassium chloride, a chemical salt to stop the heart, according to the motion.

 "The choice of the first drug (midazolam) to be used is critical, because without an effective anesthetic, the second and third drugs would cause unbearable pain," Arthur's lawyers state. "But the drug the ADOC chose (in secret), midazolam, is not used in medical practice as a general anesthetic; rather, it is an anti-anxiety sedative in the same drug family as Valium and Xanax, and its use in lethal injection has been extremely problematic."

 Hobbs in dismissing Arthur's complaint stated that Arthur should have filed it as a Rule 32 petition, which would have been precluded from being filed as being successive and past the deadline for such an appeal.
Vengence is mine saith the Lord...who are we to question the instruments used to carry it out?

Grinning Grim Reaper

Tommy Arthur: 'They are going to kill me this time'

 MONTGOMERY (AP) -- Tommy Arthur has had his execution postponed seven times since 2001, so many delays that victims' rights advocates derisively call him the "Houdini" of death row. He says he is innocent and is fighting for an eighth reprieve, but he is losing optimism: "They are going to kill me this time."

Arthur, now 75, is set to be put to death at 6 p.m. Thursday for the 1982 murder-for-hire slaying of Troy Wicker in Muscle Shoals.

 Wicker's wife, Judy, initially told police she came home and was raped by a black man who shot and killed her husband. After her conviction, she changed her story and testified that she had discussed killing her husband with Arthur, who wore a wig and painted his face in an attempt to look like a black man.

 But he is unequivocal: "I did not commit that crime," he said during a recent telephone interview from prison.

 "I won't give up 'til I draw my last breath. I won't give up," he said.

 When police found Troy Wicker shot through the eye in his bed on Feb. 1, 1982.

Arthur was already in a prison work-release program in Decatur for the 1977 slaying of his sister-in-law. He admits to that crime, but says he only meant to scare her by firing a shot over her head

 Police first looked into Arthur when a tip came in saying a work-release inmate had a stack of $100 bills. Arthur said he won the money in a poker game. But investigators said they also found phone calls between Judy Wicker and Arthur.

 On the day of the murder, authorities said, Arthur walked away from the work release program in Decatur and drove to Muscle Shoals.

 He was convicted in 1983, but that conviction was overturned.

While awaiting retrial, he escaped from jail in 1986 by shooting a jailer in the neck with a pistol and forcing another jailer to open his cell door. He remained a fugitive for more than a month.

A second conviction followed and also was overturned, but a third conviction stuck.

 At each trial, Arthur -- initially to the surprise of his lawyers -- asked jurors to give him the death penalty. The decision was strategic, he said, to open up more appellate review.

 The state set execution dates for Arthur in 2001, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2014 and 2016. All were delayed as a pro bono legal team fought his convictions. Arthur has won multiple execution delays, partly because his attorneys have pursued appeals arguing lethal injection procedures would be painful because he suffers from a heart condition.

 "He's a Houdini," said Janette Grantham, director of the Victims of Crime and Leniency. "He always finds a way to escape."

 The many delays have been painful for Troy Wicker's family, Grantham said, including one of his sisters, who died of cancer soon after Arthur's last reprieve.

 "I consider that he killed her, too, because she just fought so hard to get justice for her brother, and it never came," Grantham said

 Arthur says that there is no physical evidence linking him to scene and that Judy Wicker changed her story as a "get out of jail free card." His defense has asked for modern DNA testing on the wig the killer wore, arguing the prosecution's case would "fall apart" if it shows someone else's DNA. Judy Wicker's rape kit cannot be found to be tested.

 He has appealed to Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey to intervene.

 Arthur's recent legal challenges have largely centered on the state's method of execution, including the use of the sedative midazolam to render inmates unconscious. The state's last execution using midazolam took longer than expected as the inmate coughed for the first 13 minutes of the procedure.

 In 2016, Arthur was minutes away from execution when the U.S. Supreme Court gave him an unexpected reprieve.

 "We were fixing to go into the room and they were going to put the needle in my arm," he said.

 Back then, he asked to put a picture of his four children on the back of his Bible so he could look up at them as he died. The request was denied. They are not expected to witness his execution Thursday.

 "I would like to publicly apologize to my children, all of them," he said. "I want to apologize for not being the father that I should have been and could have been. I failed as a father."

Yeah this guy's innocent...uh huh.
Vengence is mine saith the Lord...who are we to question the instruments used to carry it out?

Grinning Grim Reaper

The Latest: Alabama inmate seeks execution stay

 MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- The Latest on the scheduled execution in Alabama (all times local):

 8:20 a.m.

 An Alabama inmate is asking an appellate court to stop his execution as he challenges the constitutionality of the state's death penalty procedures.

 Lawyers for Tommy Arthur filed the request Tuesday night with the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals. Arthur has a pending lawsuit arguing Alabama improperly left decisions about how lethal injections are carried out to state prison officials.

 The stay request comes after the appellate court on Tuesday reversed a judge's decision to toss out the lawsuit. The court said since it should have been transferred to the court where his trial occurred.

 The state attorney general's office says the decision should not delay the execution.

 Arthur is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection at 6 p.m. Thursday. Arthur was convicted in the 1982 murder-for-hire of Troy Wicker.

 Arthur has had seven executions stayed previously.

The Latest: Death row inmate: Execution drugs won't work

 MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- The Latest on the scheduled execution in Alabama (all times local):

 11:40 a.m.

 Lawyers for Alabama inmate Tommy Arthur say his lethal injection should be delayed because of issues with the state's execution drugs.

 His attorneys filed court papers Wednesday with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. They pointed to issues with the state's last lethal injection and say the state will give Arthur an ineffective anesthetic before giving him drugs to stop his lungs and heart.

 In December, inmate Ronald Bert Smith coughed for the first 13 minutes of his execution and moved slightly after two consciousness tests. Arthur's lawyers argued that Smith was awake during his execution. Alabama uses the sedative midazolam, which has come under scrutiny after some inmates moved and coughed.

 The state responded in a court filing that there was no evidence that Smith, or other inmates, experienced pain.

What the hell will they appeal next?  That he shouldn't get smoked because he is left handed?

Vengence is mine saith the Lord...who are we to question the instruments used to carry it out?


Do I really care if they move and cough?  I don't want the murdering POS to suffer needlessly, however a little coughing and moving, doesn't compare to what the victims went through.  Enough already.  Off this cocky slimeball.
The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money - Margaret Thatcher
The most terrifying words in the English language: "I'm from the government and I'm here to help." - Ronald Reagan

Grinning Grim Reaper

And the noose tightens...

Latest: Alabama High Court Refuses to Block Execution

 MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- The Latest on the scheduled execution of Alabama prisoner Tommy Arthur (all times local):

 1:10 p.m.

 The Alabama Supreme Court is refusing to halt the execution of an inmate, just hours before he is scheduled to die.

 The court on Thursday rejected a stay requested by inmate Tommy Arthur. He is set to be put to death by injection Thursday night.

 One justice dissented without comment.

 Arthur was seeking more time to pursue a lawsuit claiming Alabama improperly left key decisions regarding lethal injection procedures to state prison officials rather than legislators.

 Arthur's attorneys also asked the U.S. Supreme Court to order that defense lawyers have access to a telephone during the execution. The lawyers say they want to be able to contact judges if the execution appears to go awry.

 The 75-year-old Arthur is on his eighth execution date. He was convicted in the 1982 murder-for-hire slaying of Troy Wicker.

The 11th Circuit just shut him down as well.
Vengence is mine saith the Lord...who are we to question the instruments used to carry it out?

Grinning Grim Reaper

Alabama Death Row inmate Tommy Arthur asks US Supreme Court to stop execution for 8th time

Updated on May 25, 2017 at 3:00 PM

By Kent Faulk
With three hours remaining until his scheduled execution, the life of Alabama Death Row inmate Tommy Arthur rests in the hands of The United States Supreme Court and Gov. Kay Ivey.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals this afternoon denied requests from Arthur's attorneys to stop the lethal injection.

Arthur is set to be executed at 6 p.m. at the Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore for the 1982 murder-for-hire of Troy Wicker Jr. in Muscle Shoals.

It is the eighth time since 2001 Alabama has set an execution date for Arthur, nicknamed the "Houdini of Death Row" for his escape from the first seven times - often at the last hour - mainly due to legal wrangling by his attorneys.

Arthur, 75, is the second oldest inmate on death row. He also is the third-longest serving inmate among Alabama's 184 death row inmates.

The inmate's attorneys haven't heard whether Ivey will stop the execution, which would be her first execution as governor.

However, Ivey today informed Arthur's attorney she was once again denying their request for DNA testing for hair samples associated with the case. "DNA testing of the hair samples would serve no purpose but to confirm a fact that has already been presented to the three separate juries, all of whom convicted Arthur of capital murder," wrote Ivey's general counsel, Bryan Taylor.

Appeals pending

Arthur and his attorneys are seeking a stay of execution so they can further litigate his challenges on two issues.

On Tuesday, Arthur won a legal victory when the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals reversed a judge's ruling that rejected Arthur's claim that the Legislature, not the prison system, should decide on the method and drugs used in executions. Arthur's attorneys then quickly filed an emergency request for a stay of execution to that court, stating that his execution should wait until litigation over their claims that the legislature should select the lethal injection drugs is completed.

Arthur's appeal to the U.S. 11th Circuit, based on Arthur's challenge to Alabama's method of execution that includes the drug midazolam as one of the three drugs, was denied earlier this afternoon.
Vengence is mine saith the Lord...who are we to question the instruments used to carry it out?


They finally zapped the Houdini of death row (JUST)

According to the Attorney general,  the execution started at 23:50 and that since it was before midnight even though it was 'not exactly protocol' they carried on anyway
(You can appeal that one to your new pal Satan,  what a shame ;D )

ATMORE, Ala. - Tommy Arthur, who escaped seven previous execution dates, was put to death by lethal injection for his conviction in a 1982 murder-for-hire, reported.

>> Read more trending news

Alabama correctional officials said the 75-year-old inmate was pronounced dead at 12:15 a.m. Friday. The execution began about 11:50 p.m., 10 minutes before the death warrant was to expire, Alabama Department of Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn said.

Arthur was convicted in the fatal shooting of Troy Wicker as Wicker slept in his Muscle Shoals home, according to court documents. Wicker’s wife initially blamed an intruder, but later testified she promised Arthur $10,000 to kill her husband, The Associated Press reported.

Arthur was nicknamed the “Houdini” of death row because he had eluded execution seven times. He was executed at the Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore.

The inmate gave a thumbs up gesture with his left hand to his daughter, Sherrie. who was in the witness room, reported.

In a statement before the execution, Arthur read out the names of his children. "I'm sorry I failed you as a father. I love you more than anything on earth," he said, his voice cracking.

The execution was to have begun at 6 p.m. but was delayed by appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court. If the execution had not begun by midnight, the state would have had to seek another execution date, reported.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said he hoped Wicker’s family can begin to recover.

"Thirty-four years after he was first sentenced to death for the murder of a Colbert County man, Thomas Arthur's protracted attempt to escape justice is finally at an end,” Marshall said. “Most importantly, tonight, the family of Troy Wicker can begin the long-delayed process of recovery from a painful loss."

Grinning Grim Reaper

Last words and such...

In a statement before the execution, Arthur read out the names of his children. "I'm sorry I failed you as a father. I love you more than anything on earth," he said, his voice cracking.

Arthur did not request a last meal and refused his breakfast as well.


Arthur was the 1st condemned murderer executed in Alabama this year and the 59th since executions resumed.
His was the 12th 2017 US execution and the 1454th since 1976.

The skinny...

Dubbed the Houdini of death by dodging seven previous X dates his luck ran out on number eight.  He bought five extra hours of life with a last minute appeal to SCOTUS but this was denied and the lights went out at 11:50 PM CDT...just 10 minutes before the death warrant expired.

Up next...

Robert Bryant Melson is set to be executed on June 8 in Alabama for the 1994 handgun slayings of James Baker, Darryl Collier and Tamika Collins.
Vengence is mine saith the Lord...who are we to question the instruments used to carry it out?


I was surprised that it was Justice Clarence Thomas who offered the stay.  I wonder why and then what changed.  Regardless, he is dead and peace to the victim's family and friends.
The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money - Margaret Thatcher
The most terrifying words in the English language: "I'm from the government and I'm here to help." - Ronald Reagan

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