The 13th Execution of 2017
Alabama put Robert Melson to death by lethal injection at 10:27 p.m. local time on June 8, 2017 at the death chamber in Atmore. It was the second execution in Alabama in 2017, reported Reuters.
Melson made no last statement and there were no complications with the execution, prison spokesman Bob Horton said.
Melson was convicted of murdering James Nathaniel Baker, 17, Darryl Collier, 23 and Tamika Collins, 18, during a robbery at a fried chicken fast food restaurant in Gadsden, about 115 miles northwest of Montgomery.
"It is my prayer that, with tonight’s events, the victims’ families can finally have closure," Alabama Governor Kay Ivey said in a statement.
As the restaurant was closing at about midnight, Melson and another robber forced four employees to remove cash from the restaurant safe and then ordered them into a freezer, court documents said.
Melson fatally shot three of the workers while the fourth, Bryant Archer, was shot multiple times but survived, the documents said.
Archer identified one of the robbers as Cuhuatemoc Peraita, a former employee at the restaurant, but did not know the shooter, they said. Police later linked Melson to Peraita, who was 17 at the time of the killings and too young to be executed under U.S. law.
Peraita was sentenced to life without parole. While in prison, he killed another inmate and currently is on death row, according to court records.
Lawyers for Melson tried to halt his execution, arguing a drug in the state's lethal injection has been linked to troubled executions in Alabama, Arizona and Oklahoma, where inmates could be seen twisting on death chamber gurneys. They said its use violated constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishment.
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