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    Alabama seeks third nitrogen execution for Carey Dale Grayson in 1994 Vicki Lynn DeBlieux murder case

    By John O'sullivan,

    2024-06-12

    Alabama is pushing for another execution using nitrogen gas , just months after the state became the first to use this untested method for capital punishment. The attorney general's office petitioned the Alabama Supreme Court on Monday to set an execution date for death row inmate Carey Dale Grayson. Grayson was convicted of the 1994 murder of Vicki Lynn DeBlieux in Jefferson County.

    If approved, this would be the third scheduled execution using nitrogen gas. Earlier this year in January, the state executed Kenneth Smith, marking the country's first nitrogen gas execution. Another execution using nitrogen gas has been slated for Alan Eugene Miller on September 26.

    While lethal injection remains the primary method of execution in the state, inmates can choose death by nitrogen gas or the electric chair. Following the execution of Smith using nitrogen gas in January, the state has begun seeking execution dates for the numerous inmates who have selected nitrogen as their preferred method of execution, reports the Mirror US .

    This move comes amidst ongoing disputes and legal battles over what occurred during the first execution using nitrogen. During his execution, Smith experienced seizure-like convulsions for over two minutes while strapped to the gurney in the execution chamber.

    This was followed by several minutes of labored breathing. Advocates are raising serious concerns about Alabama's execution methods, pointing out the stark contrast between the state's assurances of a swift and painless death and the grim reality. Alabama's Attorney General Steve Marshall has stood by the execution as "textbook" and is even offering assistance to other states in developing this new technique.

    A petition submitted to Alabama's Supreme Court brought attention to the fact that in 2018, inmate Grayson had opted for nitrogen as his method of execution. The state has argued that it's time to move forward with the execution using the "method of execution that he voluntarily elected" However, Grayson's lawyer argues that nitrogen hypoxia requires more scrutiny before being used again.

    "It is disappointing that the State wants to schedule a third nitrogen hypoxia execution before the question of whether the first one tortured Kenneth Smith has been resolved," said John Palombi, an attorney with the Federal Defenders Program. Despite choosing nitrogen hypoxia over five years ago, Palombi points out that "he did not know what the procedure would be when he was forced to make this choice.

    "Now that he knows how Alabama will implement this method of execution, he has concerns that may only be resolved through a full trial on the question of whether this method, as Alabama chooses to implement it, is constitutional," Palombi added. Grayson was among four people charged with the brutal murder of hitchhiker Vicki Lynn DeBlieux on February 21, 1994.

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    The court heard the gruesome details of how Ms Deblieux, 37, was hitchhiking from Tennessee to her mother's home in Louisiana when she was intercepted by four men. They took her to a remote forest area where she was brutally attacked, beaten and thrown off a cliff. The then-teenagers returned to further desecrate her body, inflicting a shocking 180 stab wounds.

    Grayson, along with Kenny Loggins and Trace Duncan, were all found guilty and sentenced to death. However, due to their age at the time of the crime, under 18, both Loggins and Duncan had their death sentences overturned following a 2005 US Supreme Court ruling that prohibited the execution of offenders who were minors at the time of their crimes.

    Grayson was 19 at the time of the crime. Another teenager involved in the crime received a life sentence. If the judges approve the execution, it will be up to Alabama Governor Kay Ivey to set the exact date.

    For the latest local news and features on Irish America, visit our homepage here .

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