'I won't give up': Death row inmate seeks execution reprieve

Arthur had tried to take his legal battle against his execution all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, who denied his petition in February, despite a dissent from Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer. Arthur's lawyers made multiple last-ditch appeals, both in and out of court, seeking to halt the execution originally scheduled for 6 p.m. CDT. Arthur was scheduled to be executed Thursday evening.

Judy Wicker was convicted of murdering her husband Troy to collect insurance money and was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Arthur, in a telephone interview from a south Alabama prison, maintained his innocence.

"It is ordered that execution of the sentence of death is hereby stayed pending further order of the undersigned or of the Court", the court said in the order.

In new appeals, Arthur said Alabama in December injected inmate Ronald Smith with painful execution drugs while Smith was still conscious.

"While Arthur cherry-picks a few of these executions to seize on exaggerated accounts of movement or labored breathing, he wholly ignores the overwhelmingly majority of these executions, which by all accounts were unremarkable and proceeded smoothly", the state said in court filings this week.

The ruling by the Criminal Court of Appeals didn't say that Arthur was correct, it just said that the case should be heard by thee Jefferson Circuit Court, and not the Montgomery Circuit Court, which ruled against him.

An Alabama inmate is asking an appellate court to stop his execution as he challenges the constitutionality of the state's death penalty procedures.

They say a string of "botched" executions means defense lawyers should be able to call a court in something goes wrong. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey denied the request saying the matter how already been reviewed by juries and the courts.

Lawyers for Tommy Arthur filed the stay request Thursday, about an hour before Arthur was set to be given a lethal injection.

Wicker's two sons are expected to witness the execution.

Arthur's latest scheduled execution came a week after Alabama's Republican-dominated House of Representatives approved a bill that would shorten the appeals process for death row inmates.

It is the eighth time since 2001 that the state has set an execution for Arthur.

Arthur was convicted in the 1982 contract killing of Troy Wicker.

The case focused on Alabama's use of the sedative midazolam.

An Alabama victims' advocate calls Arthur a "Houdini" because he has escaped death so many times at the last moment.

Arthur's legal team has challenged lethal injection procedures. After her conviction, she testified that Arthur killed her husband while wearing a wig and makeup and that she paid him $10,000. Arthur insists that new DNA testing of a wig worn by a killer will clear him, but the state says no significant genetic material was found and rejected his request for retesting.

"Neither a fingerprint nor a weapon, nor any other physical evidence connects Thomas Arthur to the murder of Troy Wicker", his lead attorney, Suhana Han, said in a statement.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said Arthur is an egregious example of how a convicted murderer can manipulate the legal system "to avoid justice".

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