Attorneys for convicted killer argue death penalty 'cruel & unusual'

Attorneys for convicted killer argue death penalty 'cruel & unusual'

MONTGOMERY, AL (WAFF) - Attorneys for a convicted killer will be going back to federal court Wednesday trying to prove Alabama's death sentence is cruel and unusual punishment.

Tommy Arthur was convicted in the early 80s in a murder for hire scheme out in the Shoals. Arthur was sentenced to death in March of 1983 and has managed to avoid his execution ever since.

Governors have set several execution dates for Arthur, but each time, attorneys have been able to delay it.

Last February, his legal team was able to cancel his execution by arguing that the drugs used in Alabama's execution have caused botched executions in other states.

This week, his attorneys have been making their case in front of a federal judge in Montgomery.

They say the drugs used to sedate prisoners do not work properly. They also allege that prison officials don't administer a so-called "pinch test," which is done to ensure that prisoners are unconscious before the lethal drugs are administered.

They also argue state prison officials have been hiding that information from attorneys for years.

According to the Montgomery Advertiser, people who've witnessed recent executions in Alabama told the judges yesterday about what they saw, and they seemed to back up Arthur's attorney's claims.

Arthur's attorneys are expected to call more witnesses to the stand Wednesday.

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