A Nevada death-row inmate whose execution was twice delayed over lethal injection concerns has been found dead by an apparent hanging, corrections officials said.
Scott Dozier, 48, who was convicted of murder twice, was found dead alone in his cell at Ely State Prison on Friday afternoon, a spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections said in a statement.
Dozier, who had long argued for his execution amid delays, had been on death row for 11 years for the deaths of his methamphetamine drug trade associates, Jeremiah Miller, who was killed in 2002, and Jasen Green, whose remains were found in an Arizona desert in 2001.
He was last scheduled to be executed by a lethal cocktail of drugs in July, but the procedure was halted after New Jersey-based pharmaceutical manufacturer Alvogen filed an emergency lawsuit. The company’s sedative midazolam was to be used in the procedure, but it argued that it didn’t want its product used over concerns that the execution could be “botched,” following past issues with lethal injections.
This postponement followed a similar one made in November 2017 over concerns that another drug could cause extreme suffering if the other drugs in the cocktail were not administered properly.
His former attorney, Clark Patrick, said he was heartbroken over news of the suspected suicide, describing Dozier as a friend whom he planned to visit later this month with his wife.
“It is sad that it has come to this because the state couldn’t live up to their sentence,” he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “If this isn’t a reason for the Legislature to eliminate the death penalty in 2019, I don’t know what is.”
Giancarlo Pesci, who prosecuted Dozier in the Miller case, also told the Review-Journal he felt sad for both Miller’s family and Dozier’s over how long his sentence had been drawn out.
Dozier was placed on suicide watch multiple times after his executions were delayed and had spoken out against the judge’s decision to halt his death.
“Life in prison isn’t a life,” he told the Review-Journal in 2018. “This isn’t living, man. It’s just surviving. ... If people say they’re going to kill me, get to it.”
He made a similar plea to a state court judge following his postponed execution in 2017.
“I’ve been very clear about my desire to be executed ... even if suffering is inevitable,” Dozier said, according to The Associated Press.
If Dozier’s execution had been carried out, it would have been the state’s first since 2006.