Joe Nathan James Jr: Killer on death row took THREE HOURS to die, making it the longest execution in US history
BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA: Joe Nathan James Jr, who was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1994 fatal shooting of his girlfriend, Faith Hall, 26, in Birmingham, was subjected to a three-hour-long execution making it the longest lethal injection process in US history. Despite Faith Hall's family's appeal that James should rather serve life in prison, the appeal was denied and the execution was given the go-ahead.
According to a report by a human rights organization obtained by The Atlantic, the officials at the Atmore, Alabama, correctional facility took between three and three half hours to carry out James' execution. The examination carried out by Reprieve US revealed that William C Holman Correctional Facility set James' execution for 6 pm on July 28 and the media was barred from entering the facility till 8:57 pm. At 9:27 pm he was pronounced dead. The evaluation of the autopsy revealed that the officials tried for more than three hours to insert an IV line but were unsuccessful. Maya Foa, director of Reprieve US, said, "Subjecting a prisoner to three hours of pain and suffering is the definition of cruel and unusual punishment."
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Officials took more than 3 hours to execute Joe Nathan James Jr
When the officials were unable to insert an IV line, they opted for a cut-down procedure, leaving James to struggle and indefinite injuries on his hands and wrists. Foa continued, "States cannot continue to pretend that the abhorrent practice of lethal injection is in any way humane." Alabama state officials did not answer any questions regarding the three-hour delay in James' case. As per witnesses, there was a slight movement in James' arm until 9.05 pm followed by irregular breathing till a minute after. His breathing lasted till 9:10 pm when a consciousness check was performed and he responded to a pinch on the arm by tilting his head side-to-side. His death was then recorded at 9:27 pm.
But John Hamm, Alabama Department of Corrections commissioner, said in a statement, "There was nothing out of the ordinary. I can't over-emphasize this process. We're carrying out the ultimate punishment … and we have protocols and we are very deliberate in our process and making sure everything goes according to plan. So, if that takes a few minutes or a few hours, that's what we do." Talking about the execution, Foa said, "First, [it was] a torturous procedure behind closed doors, then a theatrical performance for witnesses."