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Justice Served: Alabama Executes Death Row Inmate Jamie Mills for 2004 Murders of Elderly Couple 2024-07-23 00:46:52

Alabama carried out the execution of death row inmate Jamie Ray Mills on Thursday, marking a significant event as the state's first execution since Kenneth Smith's death by nitrogen hypoxia in January. Mills, aged 50, was declared deceased at 6:26 p.m. local time following a three-drug injection at the William C. Holman Correctional Facility in southwest Alabama, as confirmed by the state's Department of Corrections.

Lethal injection remains the default method of execution in Alabama, although alternatives like nitrogen gas or the electric chair are available upon an inmate's request. Mills had been convicted of capital murder in connection to the 2004 slaying of a senior couple at their residence in northwestern Alabama.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey had authorized a 30-hour window for Mills' execution, spanning from 12 a.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Friday. However, officials estimated the procedure would commence at approximately 6 p.m. local time Thursday, according to statements from the Alabama Department of Corrections.

On May 29, 2024, Mills had 6 visitors and 6 phone calls," the department's statement disclosed. "On May 30, 2024, he had 6 visitors, no phone calls, accepted his breakfast tray, and enjoyed a final meal of seafood.

In an earlier joint statement released by Governor Ivey and Corrections Commissioner John Hamm, plans for Mills' execution were acknowledged to be subject to potential changes "based on the conclusion of the required legal proceedings.

Court documents reveal that Mills was convicted by an Alabama jury in 2007 for the murders of 87-year-old Floyd Hill and 72-year-old Vera Hill, an elderly couple residing in Guin, near the Mississippi border. Additionally found guilty in the case were JoAnn Mills, described as Jamie Mills' common law wife during the trial, and Benjie Howe, identified as a local drug dealer.

Prosecutors detailed how Jamie Mills and his wife allegedly conspired to steal money and prescription pills from the Hills, culminating in what they described as brutal executions carried out with "a machete, tire tool, and ball-peen hammer.

Alabama carried out the execution of death row inmate Jamie Ray Mills on Thursday, marking a significant event as the state's first execution since Kenneth Smith's death by nitrogen hypoxia in January. Mills, aged 50, was declared deceased at 6:26 p.m. local time following a three-drug injection at the William C. Holman Correctional Facility in southwest Alabama, as confirmed by the state's Department of Corrections.

Lethal injection remains the default method of execution in Alabama, although alternatives like nitrogen gas or the electric chair are available upon an inmate's request. Mills had been convicted of capital murder in connection to the 2004 slaying of a senior couple at their residence in northwestern Alabama.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey had authorized a 30-hour window for Mills' execution, spanning from 12 a.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Friday. However, officials estimated the procedure would commence at approximately 6 p.m. local time Thursday, according to statements from the Alabama Department of Corrections.

On May 29, 2024, Mills had 6 visitors and 6 phone calls," the department's statement disclosed. "On May 30, 2024, he had 6 visitors, no phone calls, accepted his breakfast tray, and enjoyed a final meal of seafood.

In an earlier joint statement released by Governor Ivey and Corrections Commissioner John Hamm, plans for Mills' execution were acknowledged to be subject to potential changes "based on the conclusion of the required legal proceedings.

Court documents reveal that Mills was convicted by an Alabama jury in 2007 for the murders of 87-year-old Floyd Hill and 72-year-old Vera Hill, an elderly couple residing in Guin, near the Mississippi border. Additionally found guilty in the case were JoAnn Mills, described as Jamie Mills' common law wife during the trial, and Benjie Howe, identified as a local drug dealer.

Prosecutors detailed how Jamie Mills and his wife allegedly conspired to steal money and prescription pills from the Hills, culminating in what they described as brutal executions carried out with "a machete, tire tool, and ball-peen hammer.

The Hills' wealth and medication were discovered in Howe's possession when he was arrested as a suspect. Shortly thereafter, both Jamie and JoAnn Mills were apprehended, with authorities alleging that they found the murder weapons in the trunk of the Mills' car. DNA evidence lifted from the tools matched one of the victims, yet in recent years, Mills' legal team has contended that scant concrete evidence connects him to the crime.

During the trial, testimony from Mills' spouse became pivotal for the prosecution. Initially, JoAnn Mills implied to authorities that Howe had planted the weapons in their car to frame them. However, she later became the prosecution's star witness, crucial in securing Jamie Mills' conviction for the murders. The circumstances surrounding this shift later sparked debate about the fairness of Mills' conviction and death sentence.

Transcripts from the trial revealed former Marion County District Attorney William Bostick's testimony, during which he claimed JoAnn Mills hadn't been coerced into testifying against her husband. Despite direct questioning from Jamie Mills' defense counsel regarding any incentives for her testimony, Bostick repeatedly denied any inducements.

JoAnn Mills was ultimately convicted for the Hills' murders and sentenced to life imprisonment with parole eligibility, as Alabama dropped capital charges against her. Subsequently, it emerged that her attorney at the time, Tony Glenn, had arranged a deal with the district attorney and the Hills' family members, ensuring the state wouldn't pursue the death penalty against her if she testified against her husband.

In light of these revelations, Mills filed a motion in April seeking to reopen his appeal and halt his execution. Throughout, he has steadfastly professed his innocence in the Hills' murders. In acknowledging these developments, Eleventh Circuit Judge Nancy G. Abudu remarked in the court's recent opinion, "According to Glenn, before Mills' trial, the victims' daughter agreed not to oppose the State offering JoAnn a plea deal, and the district attorney agreed to not pursue the death penalty against JoAnn—so long as she 'testified truthfully' at Mills' trial.

In the face of legal battles and last-minute appeals, Alabama's execution of Jamie Ray Mills proceeded, marking a significant chapter in the state's ongoing debate over capital punishment. Despite concerns raised about the execution process and the state's handling of previous cases, the courts upheld the decision to carry out the sentence. As the debate over the ethics and efficacy of the death penalty continues, Mills' case serves as a poignant reminder of the complex legal and moral considerations surrounding this contentious issue.

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