The 3rd Execution of 2016
Alabama death row inmate Christopher Eugene Brooks was executed
Thursday night for the 1992 slaying of a Homewood woman after the U.S.
Supreme Court denied his request for a stay of execution, according to the Birmingham News .
Brooks was pronounced dead at 6:38 p.m. in the execution chamber at the Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore. He was the 57th death
row inmate executed in Alabama since executions resumed in 1983 after
an unofficial more than decade-long nationwide moratorium ended. He was
the first person executed in Alabama since 2013.
Brooks final words included: "I hope this brings closure to
everybody." To the two friends, a spiritual advisor, and his lawyers who
witnessed the execution he said they were a "Godsend" and that "I will
take you with me in my heart"... "I'll see you soon. Bye. I love y'all."
Brooks, however, did not admit guilt in his statement.
After he was brought into the execution chamber, the curtain opened
to witnesses at 6:06 p.m. and closed at 6:30 p.m. The exact time of
death was 6:38 p.m.
A prison chaplain held Brooks' hand and appeared to pray with him as
the first drug, a sedative, was administered. Brooks' eyes closed, his
mouth gaped open and his breathing slowed. By 6:19 p.m. there was no
detectable breathing. A prison captain pinched his upper left arm and
pulled open his eyelid to check for consciousness before the final two
drugs were administered.
After the execution Alabama Prison Commissioner Jeff Dunn said the
execution with the controversial sedative drug midazolam "went exactly
Brooks did not appear to struggle during the administration of the
drugs. His attorneys and other inmates had claimed the first drug in the
cocktail does not put the condemned inmate in deep enough sleep to
prevent pain when the other two drugs are administered.
Dunn said that there are no other executions currently planned, but
the prison system does have the drugs available to conduct more. He said
the same drug combination has been used in other states.
Dunn also read letters from victim Jo Deann Campbell's two sisters and mother, all of whom witnessed the execution.
Mona Campbell, her mother, said the execution does not give her
closure and will not bring back her youngest daughter. She said she
hoped Brooks had "made peace with God." Jo Deann's sister, Fran Romano
and Corinne Campbell also issued statements.
"Just as God forgives me for my sins I pray for mercy for this man's soul," Corinne wrote.
During the execution Brooks' spiritual adviser held a Bible and read quietly from it.
Brooks kept his focus primarily on the witness box where his friends,
three attorneys, and the five media representatives sat. He glanced
once to the victims' family witness box when he hoped everyone would get
Minutes before he was to die, word spread that the U.S. Supreme Court had denied Brook's request to stay the execution. Justice Stephen Breyer dissented from the ruling.
Dunn said prison officials were notified of the justices' decision at
5:55 p.m., five minutes before the execution was scheduled to begin.
"Christopher Eugene Brooks was sentenced to death in accordance with
Alabama's procedures, which allow a jury to render an "advisory verdict"
that "is not binding on the court," the dissent states.
"Moreover, we have recognized that Alabama's sentencing scheme is
"much like" and "based on Florida's sentencing scheme," Breyer wrote.
The request for the stay was made to Justice Clarence Thomas.
Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg concurred with Thomas'
decision to deny the stay.
Brooks, 43, was convicted in the December 1992 rape and murder of
23-year-old Jo Deann Campbell. Investigators linked Brooks to the crime
through DNA, fingerprints, and Campbell's car and other items taken from
her Homewood apartment, including a credit card he had used. Her
partially clothed body had been found under her bed and she had been
beaten with a barbell.
No one protested the execution in an area set aside for vigils, according to AL.com reporter Casey Toner. Other protests were held around the state, including a small gathering of death penalty opponents in a Birmingham park.
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