Nevada greenlights 1st execution in 12 years, furthering death row inmate’s quest

Nevada greenlights 1st execution in 12 years, furthering death row inmate’s quest
Nevada has officially scheduled the execution of Scott Raymond Dozier, 47, for July 11. While Dozier has repeatedly stated the wish to die, the sentence was delayed due to ethical concerns over an unusual mix of drugs to be used.

Dozier will become the first death row inmate in Nevada jails to be executed in over a decade. The last time capital punishment was carried out through lethal injection in the state was in 2006, a year before Dozier, also known as Chad Wyatt, was put on the death row.

While Dozier, who was convicted of two murders, has dropped all of his appeals, saying in his multiple interviews with US media that he deserves death and looks forward to it, his unusual case for execution was stalled due to the state Department of Corrections’ failure to obtain the appropriate drugs.

However, on Wednesday, Department of Corrections spokeswoman Brooke Santina announced that there are no more legal hurdles impeding the execution, which is set to be carried out on July 11.

While many civil rights groups consider the death penalty to be incompatible with human rights law in principle, this time the debate focused not on the legality of the punishment itself, but on the way it is performed.

The main concern put forward by American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), arguably the most influential civil rights organization in the US, was that Dozier might die in excruciating pain, as the new mix of drugs he will be subjected to has never been tested before.

The deadly mix in question consists of the muscle paralytic cisatracurium, sedative diazepam, which is marketed as the prescription drug Valium, and Fentanyl, an extremely potent opioid used as a pain medication. The latter has become notorious as one of the main drivers of the opioid epidemic in America.

Back in November, a judge in Las Vegas blocked Dozier’s execution from going forward after heeding arguments from the ACLU that the paralytic drug could cover up the convict’s sufferings during the execution. Making its case, the advocacy group pointed out that it is illegal to use cisatracurium for euthanizing pets in Nevada.

However, the same Clark County District Court judge, Jennifer Togliatti, who opposed the execution in November, signed the death warrant on Tuesday, paving the way for Dozier’s state-administered and, apparently, much-coveted death. The U-turn follows a May ruling by Nevada’s Supreme Court, which overturned Togliatti’s November decision. The state Supreme Court decided at the time that the challenges to the execution method were “procedurally improper.”

Unveiling the execution date for the first time on Wednesday, Santina brushed off concerns by some rights groups that the medication that is needed to complete the procedure has long expired due to the unwillingness of pharmaceutical companies to provide fresh drugs for the purpose.

“We have what we need to complete the execution order. The same three drugs. We have some that are not expired,” she told AP, noting that while the shelf life of some of the drugs has ended, the state still has enough medication that will not expire until November 30.

The ACLU has predictably taken issue with the latest court ruling, noting that Nevada’s Supreme Court has failed to determine if “Mr. Dozier would experience extreme pain, or if he would suffocate to death, or if this protocol is constitutionally adequate.”

Dozier himself, meanwhile, will hardly have any objections. The man repeatedly told media that he did not have any intention of fighting his execution and even would be glad if his death brings some kind of joy to the parents of the man he killed in 2002.

“If this can bring them some gratification, that’s awesome,” Dozier said in an interview with the Marshall Project earlier this year.

Dozier says that it does not matter for him if the execution is painful or not.

"If they tell me, 'Listen, there's a good chance it's going to be a real miserable experience for those two hours before you actually expire,' I'm still going to do it. I'm not going to waver on this,” he said last year.

Dozier was found guilty of murdering fellow drug dealer Jeremiah Miller in 2002, supposedly over a $12,000 debt. He then dismembered Millar’s body, stuffing it into a suitcase and, according to his own words, put the severed man’s head into a bucket of concrete. During the trial, Dozier said that he did not feel remorse for killing Milller, although he felt sorry for his parents.

He was also convicted of the murder of 26-year-old Jasen Green in Arizona, whose body was discovered in a plastic container in 2001. Dozier was sentenced to 22 years in prison for that crime.

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