Last night, the state of Alabama put a man to death who was convicted of murdering a police officer and also in the process of suing the state over its lethal injection methods.
As the execution procedure began last night, 40-year-old Torrey Twane McNabb was defiant. He raised both his middle fingers, cursed at the state and said “I hate you”. McNabb was convicted of killing Montgomery police officer Anderson Gordon in 1997. Prosecutors say he shot Gordon five times as the officer sat in his patrol car after arriving at a traffic incident McNabb caused while fleeing a bail bondsman.
McNabb, along with other Alabama death row inmates, had sued the state over the constitutionality of its lethal injection protocol. They argue the sedative midazolam can’t be trusted to render a person unconscious before other drugs stop their lungs and heart. McNabb’s execution may give those arguments more merit. Witnesses say he appeared to be breathing for the first 20 minutes of the procedure. He later appeared to move his head, grimace and raise his arms after two consciousness checks before finally becoming still.
Alabama Department of Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn says he was confident the movements after the second consciousness check were involuntary and that McNabb was not awake.
The U.S. Supreme Court delayed the execution for more than two hours to consider McNabb's request for a stay, but ultimately ruled that the execution could go forward.
There are currently 182 inmates on Alabama’s death row awaiting execution.