Drugmaker sues, asks court to block use of its product in Nevada execution on
The maker of a sedative set for inclusion in a Nevada execution on Wednesday -
the state's 1st in 12 years - is suing to stop it from being used to kill Scott
American pharmaceutical company Alvogen filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Clark County
District Court, saying the Nevada Department of Corrections purchased the drug
on false pretenses even though they knew Alvogen objected to its use for
executions. The company is asking a judge for a temporary restraining order,
for the drug midazolam to be impounded and for it to be barred from any use in
???Defendants intentionally defrauded Alvogen's distributor by, on information
and belief, concealing the April 2018 letter from the distributor and/or the
fact that Defendants intended to use the Alvogen Midazolam Product for purposes
of an execution," the lawsuit said. "Defendants omitted relevant information
and implicitly made the false representation that they had legitimate
therapeutic rationale to purchase the Alvogen Midazolam Product."
A spokeswoman for the Nevada Department of Corrections didn't immediately
respond to a request for comment on Tuesday, and it's unclear whether the suit
- filed a little more than 24 hours before the execution - will prompt a delay.
Alvogen says on its website that it tries to prevent its product midazolam from
use in executions. But the Nevada Department of Corrections announced last
Tuesday that it was adding midazolam to its 3-drug lethal injection combination
after another drug expired, and on Friday it distributed photos of the
packaging with Alvogen labels - a response to a request from the American Civil
Liberties Union of Nevada for more information about the drugs' origins.
The pharmaceutical company said it learned its product would be used when it
started to receive press inquiries on July 7.
"Alvogen does not market, promote or condone the use of any of its approved
prescription drug products, including midazolam, for use in state sponsored
executions," spokesperson Hallder Kristmannsson said in a statement on Monday.
"To avoid any improper, off label use of our products, Alvogen does not accept
direct orders from prison systems or departments of correction. Alvogen works
with our distributors and wholesalers to restrict any resale, either directly
or indirectly, of our midazolam product to any prison system or department of
Alvogen's suit said the state has refused to return the products, and added
that the prison agency "was aware of and actively fought disclosure of certain
execution-related information because such information had been used to
persuade manufacturers to cease selling their products for executions."
NDOC's actions "have caused, and will continue to cause unless enjoined,
substantial and irreparable injury to Alvogen, its reputation, and its
goodwill," the lawsuit said.
Nevada prisons purchased execution drugs through wholesaler Cardinal Health,
which has previously said it works to fulfill manufacturer's wishes.
"As a wholesaler, we hold ourselves to the highest standards of accuracy and
safety and have robust controls in place," Cardinal Health spokesman Geoffrey
Basye said in November, when it was first revealed that the company was
supplying some of the drugs. "We follow every manufacturer's specific
instructions to ensure the safe distribution of their products."
Basye didn't respond to a request for comment Monday about the Alvogen
Midazolam has been used in other executions around the country, including some
that were prolonged and involved the inmates gasping for air. Alvogen said it
would work to prevent the midazolam from making its way into Dozier's
NDOC has previously declined to acquiesce to manufacturer's specifications
about drugs in executions. Pfizer asked the agency to return the drug diazepam
after it was revealed the drug would be used in Dozier's execution when it was
first scheduled last November, but the agency said at the time that it was
under no obligation to return a product it had purchased.
(source: The Nevada Independent)
Drug company's lawsuit could derail Nevada execution
A Nevada inmate slated to die by a 3-drug lethal injection combination never
before used in the U.S. has said repeatedly he wants his sentence carried out
and he doesn't care if it's painful.
But a last-minute lawsuit filed by a drug company that doesn't want its product
used in "botched" executions could derail Scott Raymond Dozier's scheduled
New Jersey-based Alvogen filed court documents Tuesday saying Nevada prison
officials illegally obtained the sedative midazolam and demanding it be
returned and not used in Dozier's execution.
"Midazolam is not approved for use in such an application," the document said,
adding uses of midazolam in other states "have been extremely controversial and
have led to widespread concern that prisoners have been exposed to cruel and
Clark County District Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez scheduled a hearing Wednesday to
decide if the execution can take place just hours later. A Nevada prisons
spokeswoman did not comment.
Midazolam was substituted in May for expired prison stocks of diazepam, a
similar sedative commonly known as Valium. Nevada's first-of-its-kind plan also
calls for the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl to slow Dozier's breathing and
the muscle paralytic cisatracurium to prevent movement and stop his breathing.
Nevada refused Pfizer's demand last year to return the company's diazepam and
fentanyl, which has been blamed for overdoses nationwide but has not been used
in an execution.
Pharmaceutical companies have been resisting the use of their drugs in
executions for 10 years, citing both legal and ethical concerns, but McKesson
Corp. became the 1st company to sue in the U.S. last year over use of its
product in an Arkansas execution, said Robert Dunham, executive director of the
Death Penalty Information Center.
McKesson said it wanted nothing to do with executions and accused the state of
obtaining vecuronium bromide, a drug used to stop inmates' lungs, under false
The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled against the company and allowed that execution
to go forward, but legal questions about whether pharmaceutical companies can
block use of their drugs in the death penalty haven't been resolved, Dunham
The twice-convicted killer in Nevada has said he prefers death to life behind
"I've been very clear about my desire to be executed ... even if suffering is
inevitable," Dozier said in a handwritten note to a judge who postponed his
execution in November over concerns the untried drug regimen could leave him
suffocating, conscious and unable to move.
Dozier, who attempted suicide in the past, repeated his desire to die during
recent interviews with the Reno Gazette Journal and Las Vegas Review-Journal.
"Life in prison isn't a life," the 47-year-old told the Review-Journal . He has
not responded to messages through his lawyers to speak with The Associated
Dozier, son of a federal water engineer, grew up in Boulder City, Nevada, and
attended high school in Phoenix. He is an honorably discharged Army veteran; a
divorced father who became an emergency medical technician during his
then-wife's high-risk pregnancy; a pastels painter; a landscaper; and a
methamphetamine user, maker and dealer.
He was close to his grandfather, who killed himself when Dozier was 5. He told
a clinical psychologist who testified at his trial that he was sexually abused
by a teenage male neighbor from ages 5 to 7.
The psychologist diagnosed Dozier with anti-social personality disorder with
There's a limit to how much artwork and exercise a person can do in prison,
Dozier said in court hearings and letters to Clark County District Judge
Jennifer Togliatti, who postponed his execution last year.
Togliatti presided over the 2007 trial in which a Nevada jury decided Dozier
should die for murder convictions in Arizona and Nevada in separate slayings of
drug-trade associates, according to court records.
In 2005, Dozier was sentenced to 22 years in prison for shooting 26-year-old
Jasen Greene, whose body was found in 2002 in a shallow grave outside Phoenix.
A witness testified that Dozier used a sledgehammer to break Greene's limbs so
the corpse would fit in a plastic tote that Dozier used to transport meth,
equipment and chemicals.
Dozier was sentenced to die for robbing, killing and dismembering 22-year-old
Jeremiah Miller at a Las Vegas motel in 2002. Miller had come to Nevada to buy
ingredients to make meth. His decapitated torso was found in a suitcase in an
apartment building trash bin, also missing lower legs and hands. He was
identified by tattoos on the shoulders. His head was never found.
Relatives of Dozier's victims are not expected at his execution, Nevada prisons
spokeswoman Brooke Santina said. Several Dozier family members are expected to
Dozier suspended any appeals of his conviction and sentence, which would make
him 1 of about 10 % of the 1,477 inmates who gave up appeals and were executed
nationwide since 1977, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
He did, however, let federal public defenders challenge the execution protocol
drawn up last year by state medical and prison officials. They argued the
untried 3-drug combination would be less humane than putting down a pet.
The judge invited state Supreme Court review, saying she expected the Nevada
execution to be closely watched by officials in states that have struggled in
recent years to identify and obtain drugs from pharmaceutical companies that
don't want their products used for the death penalty.
The state high court in May decided on procedural grounds that the execution
could go forward but did not review the 3-drug protocol that death penalty
experts have characterized as experimental and risky.
"Because Nevada is using a combination of drugs that no one has used before,
there is a lot about its protocol that we don't know anything about," Dunham
The midazolam is expected to render Dozier unconscious before he is injected
with the fentanyl. That will be followed by the muscle paralyzing drug.
Midazolam has been used with inconsistent results in states including Alabama,
Arkansas, Arizona, Florida and Ohio. Dunham noted the 2014 executions of Dennis
McGuire in Ohio and Joseph Rudolph Wood III in Arizona left both inmates
gasping and snorting before they died.
Nevada's last execution occurred in 2006, when Daryl Linnie Mack asked to be
put to death for his conviction in a 1988 rape and murder in Reno.
(source: Associated Press)
Drugs, dismemberment led 'great kid' Scott Dozier to Nevada's death row
Gloria Buksa lived in what she described as an unusually quiet apartment
complex in southwest Las Vegas. So she took note when she heard an "extremely
loud" thump late on the night of April 24, 2002.
It was so loud, in fact, that she thought her car must have been hit in its
spot just outside her apartment. So she got up from her reading and peered out
the window of her unit in the Copper Sands Apartments.
She couldn't see anything. The engine she heard idling was gone. She figured
that if her car was dented, she would confirm the bad news in the morning.
But what she got the next morning was a knock on the door. It was a police
officer, asking if she noticed anything funny around the Dumpster recently.
She told him about the thump.
Later, she had to move her car from its normal spot at the complex. The car was
fine, but it was encircled with yellow police tape.
Inside that Dumpster, inside a suitcase, was the decapitated, dismembered body
of Jeremiah Miller. His family in Arizona described the 22-year-old as a
jokester, someone who could light up the room, but he was also someone who had
lately become entangled in the dark world of methamphetamine.
The gruesome discovery was the start of a murder investigation that would
ultimately lead to the conviction and sentence of death for Scott Dozier 5
years later. Smart, artistic and popular with the ladies, Dozier, now 47, was
raised in a stable family like Miller's and was described by those who knew him
as caring and thoughtful.
But he was also deep into the methamphetamine world, with a rap sheet that
would later include a 2nd murder conviction linked to drugs, and with what one
psychologist described as a personality disorder and narcissistic tendencies.
Clark County prosecutors successfully made the case that the down-and-out
Dozier killed Miller for $12,000 the victim had brought to Vegas to buy
meth-making supplies and then used the money to buy a camcorder from Best Buy
and shower girlfriends with gifts.
Aside from witness testimony, though, there's no indication that Dozier ever
publicly admitted to Miller's death.
After a setback in an attempt to challenge the Arizona murder conviction,
Dozier announced in 2016 that he would voluntarily give up the appeals process
and offer himself up to the death sentence he had received. Nevada has about 80
people on death row, but the state hasn't had an execution for 12 years because
of the prolonged legal wrangling of appeals.
Dozier's determination has tested the limits of a state that's an infrequent
practitioner of capital punishment, forcing it to devise new lethal injection
combinations to skirt pharmaceutical companies' refusals to supply drugs for
deaths. A court challenge over whether the untried method was humane wound its
way to the Nevada Supreme Court, delaying the planned execution by about 8
months, and his Wednesday execution could be stalled as a drugmaker protests
the use of their product in Dozier's death.
Now on the brink of his sentence being carried out, his attorney told the Las
Vegas Review-Journal, Dozier doesn???t want anyone challenging an altered
lethal injection combination in court anymore. He's not unstable, experts have
said, but he is positively done with living after a decade behind bars.
"I don't want to die," he told a reporter from The Marshall Project news site
in a prison interview a few months back. "I just would rather be dead than do
Court transcripts and testimony from family members, acquaintances and
psychologists during his 2007 trial help paint a picture of the convicted man's
unlikely journey to death row. Scott Raymond Dozier was born to Larry, a
government worker, and Martha Dozier on Nov. 20, 1970 in Great Falls, Montana.
A precocious child and an early talker, the only difficult part of those early
years, according to his mother, was that Dozier didn't sleep much. A doctor
advised her to put him on tranquilizers, but she didn't think that was safe for
her baby, and she toughed it out as Dozier made several visits each night to
the couple's bedroom.
Things changed when Dozier was 4 1/2 and his younger brother, David, was born,
and the 2 boys shared a room. Later on, Scott Dozier would help David Dozier
with homework, college projects and volunteer work and would "screen" his
siblings' friends to keep away the bad apples.
Dozier was "basically the best older brother you could ask for," David Dozier,
who is now a financial adviser with Bank of America, wrote in a letter that was
read at his older brother's trial. "One of the most intelligent people I've
met, great artist, and most of all, a genuinely good-hearted person."
Later, his sister was born. She became a scientist.
The family moved around frequently, but the moving didn't particularly seem to
bother Dozier. He loved soccer and was in the gifted and talented program in
His teachers would tell his mother, "Scott is a great kid ... but he talks too
The family was close-knit, traveling together on family vacations out to the
Midwest. His mother made birthday cakes for all the children, and showed a
picture of one from his 12th birthday to the court - it was a cake shaped like
an ice cream cone.
"He had a quite good childhood and family life," according to Louis Mortillaro,
a psychologist who evaluated him in 2005 amid accusations that he'd killed 2
people. "This is unusual. This is not often seen."
But Dozier faced trying times in his youth. At age 5, his grandfather, a Pearl
Harbor veteran and lieutenant colonel in the Air Force, committed suicide. The
2 had been very close.
He told a psychologist later that he had been molested and raped by a teenage
boy between the ages of 5 and 7.
And things took a turn when the family moved from a small town in South Dakota
to Boulder City. As his mother describes it, the desert town was filled with
richer kids and people who weren't as friendly as those in their past.
By the 8th grade, Dozier found himself doing time at Spring Mountain Youth
Camp, a juvenile detention facility.
The family later moved to Phoenix, where Dozier got a job at an Italian
restaurant and would eventually graduate from high school in 1989. A natural
artist who had previously done work in charcoal and pastel, Dozier's mother and
father paid for oil painting lessons for him.
His parents displayed Dozier's artwork in their home even after after he was
incarcerated, and family members maintained a Facebook page for years with
images of the work Dozier had completed in prison.
Angela Drake told the court she met Dozier, her future husband, when she was 15
and living in Boulder City. She remembered him as a friend who always treated
her with respect.
"He was always the charming person in school, but I was kind of not," said
Drake, who went on to be a professional dancer and singer in the since-closed,
special effects-laden Las Vegas Strip production EFX.
She saw admirable qualities in him - he was like a father to a young boy his
parents had taken into their home. The 2 married on New Year???s Day in 1991,
shortly after he enlisted in the Army.
Dozier served in the military from Nov. 16, 1990 to Aug. 10, 1992, when he was
At trial, she painted a picture of her husband so sensitive that he got a
trained as an EMT while she was pregnant - not for a job, but just so he could
respond to any complications. Their child, Ashton, was born in 1993.
Eventually, the couple divorced. Drake attributed the downfall of their
marriage in part to her mother.
"I have a really, really strict Catholic upbringing and my mom didn't like
boys," Drake said, "let alone someone like Scott who just really loved me."
Drake later remarried and had three daughters, moving to Hawaii with Ashton.
But Dozier remained involved the children's lives. He likes to draw homemade
birthday cards for the girls each year with intricate drawings of frogs,
mermaids and bears, she said.
Drake's partner has even helped fund Dozier's appeal of the Arizona case,
according to The Marshall Project (Condemned inmates are allowed a limited
number of interviews before their execution. Dozier has not responded to
requests for interviews from The Nevada Independent.)
Dozier's son Ashton, 14 at the time, testified in the Nevada trial that he
loved his dad and they used to work on cars together. It was a pastime that
Dozier's father Larry Dozier, too, said he enjoyed with his son.
Dozier even sent a lighthearted birthday card to Drake's mother - the one who
didn't like him.
"Happy 29th Birthday," it said.
He signed it "Scotty."
Drugs and charm
Dozier's path veered into drugs as he became a teenager. It led him to an
arrest in Boulder City in 1989, the year he graduated from high school.
"He's been a good son to me when he has not been involved with drugs," his dad,
But if avoiding drugs was the goal, Las Vegas in the mid- to late-1990s wasn't
the place to be. The area was a hotbed for meth labs, and it was before
Congress passed legislation making it harder to get the over-the-counter cold
medicines that are the precursors of the drug, Las Vegas police Det. George
Sherwood testified in court.
In 1995, Dozier was arrested in North Las Vegas with Valium, meth and rohypnol,
better known as the date rape drug.
In 1998, a home he lived in on Cinderella Lane in Las Vegas exploded under
mysterious circumstances, gravely injuring a young woman named Kacy Kimball.
She lost her right arm below the elbow and right leg below the knee and later
sued Southwest Gas; she still asserts the incident was not a meth lab
Dozier, wanted on warrants, still made his way to the hospital to visit her.
"I do not see the monster that the authorities say Scott is," Kimball wrote in
a letter read at trial. "I see a boy who loved me with all his heart and would
do anything for me."
His life, as laid out in court documents, was never short on girlfriends and
Even in his troubled years, Dozier seemed to charm all those around him. Andrew
Leavitt, an attorney who defended him in a variety of smaller cases ahead of
the murder charges, said Dozier was always punctual and meticulous and
testified that he is a personal friend.
Before his Las Vegas trial, Dozier was convicted of another murder in Arizona
that prosecutors believe happened sometime between July 26, 2001 and March 1,
2002, before Jeremiah's death.
Gary Powell, an incarcerated drug associate who testified he had known Dozier
for about a decade, told police that Dozier had killed Miller and he could
prove it because he had helped Dozier bury another body, prosecutors said.
Powell led authorities to Arizona, where they found the badly decomposed,
mummified body of 26-year-old Jasen "Griffin" Greene on Sept. 23, 2002, just
outside Phoenix city limits in a shallow grave covered with a large wooden
Greene and Dozier had lived together in a trailer off of Arizona's "Carefree
Highway." Maricopa County prosecutor George Gialketsis says Dozier later
started to see his roommate, who had absconded from a furlough from jail, as a
"security threat" who could tip police off to the meth operation if they caught
As prosecutors tell it, Greene was bent over reading a magazine when Dozier
shot him in the back of the head. Struggling to hide the the body of the 6'2"
Greene, he put him in a closet and asked his friend Wolsanger for help
disposing of it.
After the body was wrapped in Visqueen plastic wrap, a ranch hand and meth user
named Roy Comesrunningbuck helped dump the body. But got in trouble when a
rancher named Quinn found it, noticed a foul odor and started asking questions,
Greene's body apparently sat in a large plastic tote box in a truck for months.
But worried that authorities trying to serve eviction papers would find the
gruesome contents, Powell and Wolsanger buried the body.
After a 12-day trial, Dozier was sentenced in 2005 to 22 years in prison for
the killing. But in his appeal of the Arizona conviction, as described by The
Marshall Project, Dozier's story is that he simply found Greene???s body after
arriving home and disposed of it in an effort to keep police from finding his
Jeremiah Miller came from a stable family too, hailing from a small town and
with lots of contact with his extended family. He loved the outdoors,
basketball and football, woodworking, landscaping and driving Bobcats. "He was
a very loving individual," said his father, David Miller, who recalled their
times lifting weights and playing pool together. "He loved children. He loved
He graduated from high school in 1997 and was studying to be an elementary and
special ed teacher, first in community college and later at Arizona State
University. Fluent in Spanish, he spent time building houses with the
charitable organization Habitat for Humanity and told family he wanted to help
"He said if I can become a teacher and I can help them in kindergarten through
third or fourth grade, I might be able to help them and keep them out of the
garbage they might get into," his father testified.
Miller met Martha Hernandez in high school and married her in January 2001,
before the couple moved away to Peoria, Arizona.
While Miller's mother, Kimarie, said she wanted to try to give the newlyweds
their space, they still kept in touch. But she said she knew nothing about his
entrance into the world of meth and the downward spiral described by other
people who knew him.
Miller, Dozier and drugs
For about a year before his death, Miller hadn???t been working or going to
school but was selling drugs, according to his friend, Jason Schall. Schall
testified that Miller's connections came through the family of his wife Martha,
but that he was later cut off from those relatives and was struggling
Miller was eager to learn how to cook meth, so Schall said he introduced him to
his good friend Scott Dozier - known as the guy with the big, old brown station
Miller had been making increasingly risky moves. He repeatedly asked Schall to
join him in meeting with people that made Schall nervous, and he was selling
stolen items to keep the drugs coming.
Physically, Miller was losing weight because of his newfound use of meth and
was carrying a gun more frequently. Personally, he'd started seeing a new girl
- Brandy Douglas - and the 2 were attached at the hip during the month or 2
they dated leading up to his death.
It was in hopes that he could reverse his fortunes that Jeremiah borrowed
$12,000 from Darryl, a 60-year-old drug dealer nicknamed "Grandpa." He flew to
Vegas on Southwest with Dozier and Douglas, hoping to seal a deal on meth
Although Dozier had accommodations lined up - employees at the now-demolished
La Concha motel on the Strip allowed him access to rooms for free because he
sometimes did odd jobs around the hotel - the hookup for the drugs was shaky.
His friend of about a decade, Jeff Matthews, dropped the ball on the deal, and
Douglas and Miller headed back to Phoenix after a La Concha hotel staffer told
them they needed to get out of the room.
At the time, Dozier appeared to be broke, asking a staffer at one point to loan
him $20. And his money troubles came up in an outburst toward Jose Ortiz, the
hotel employee who asked Douglas and Miller to leave - he testified Dozier was
angry that Ortiz had lost him some business.
Dozier summoned Miller back to Las Vegas a 2nd time, and he hopped on a plane,
this time without Douglas, who testified that she was airsick from the 1st
Whether the drug deal actually went through on the second trip is a matter of
dispute between witnesses. Douglas spoke to Miller on the phone late on the
night of April 18 and he said it did go through, adding that he'd be back with
her again the next day.
That was the last Douglas ever heard from her boyfriend. She couldn't reach him
the following day, and when she tried to contact Dozier, he told her Miller had
left to get some fresh air and hadn't returned.
A frantic search
The Miller family started to panic when they were contacted by Douglas, a woman
they didn't know but who had become Miller's girlfriend as his marriage with
Hernandez fell apart. She told the couple that their son had gone missing, and
they sprang into action.
When David Miller first called the police, the detective was skeptical.
22-year-olds come to Vegas to get lost, the officer told Miller.
But the family knew better.
"It was not like Jeremiah's personality to disappear," said Kimarie Miller.
When they called around rooms at the La Concha, the person who answered told
them Miller had gone out and wasn't there. So they made flyers, dropping them
everywhere they could from Kingman to Las Vegas, at casinos and on the Hoover
At one point in their search, Dozier called David Miller.
"He told me that I hope you find your son, because I have a son and I don't
know what I would do if anything happened to my son," David Miller recalled.
After they did all they could to find Jeremiah, they got a call from police
asking if their son had any unique markings. He did - there were 2 tattoos, the
dragon and the one with theatrical masks and the words "Always Remember."
The detective asked if there were any more, and David Miller wracked his brain.
There were - he had a Rottweiler puppy who bit him on the arm just a few weeks
earlier and it would be obvious. And there was a scar between Miller's eyebrows
because he had fallen on an umbrella when he was younger.
"There was a long pause, and then Det. Hardy told me that they did not have my
son's head or arms," David Miller recalled.
Jeremiah's funeral drew more than 600 people, but the family says they've been
destroyed by his death. His younger sister was in college at the time of the
news and couldn't finish; his mother said she suffered panic attacks and it
took her a year just to know what day of the week it was.
"I just saw my family fall apart," Kimarie Miller testified. "We were never the
same ever again. We lost our innocence, our ignorance, our calm, quiet lives."
"There were days when all I could hear was my own heart beating in my head.
That's - everything else around me was fuzzy and I - that's how I knew I was
alive," she said. "It's been devastating."
David Miller said he thinks of his son constantly, flooded with memories when
he hears a song that was played at Jeremiah's wedding or sees a white Ford
Explorer driving by. And he's haunted by how his son's body was desecrated and
"I ask myself every day: Where is the rest of my boy?" he said.
Boyce Edward Miller, who worked at the Copper Sands apartments, had spent 40
years in the trash business. So he took note when he saw a 150-pound suitcase
at the bottom of the complex's Dumpster, and then when it looked like there was
flesh and hair inside. The detective who responded to the scene said the corpse
had started to attract flies.
The partial remains of Jeremiah Miller's body came to the coroner's office
wrapped in plastic and duct tape and inside the big, soft-sided suitcase that
was pulled from the Dumpster.
It was impossible to tell from the 2 pieces of a male body how or when he was
killed, but it was obvious to Dr. Rexene Worrell, the coroner, that he had been
dismembered after he died. The cuts were clean and precise, like the blood had
all been lost before the cuts were made.
There were saw markings on the spine where the torso had been split in 2, and
the lower arms and lower legs had been carefully removed at the joint -
"disarticulated," cut through the cartilage.
But those extremities were all missing from the suitcase. So was the head.
Worrell wanted to call it a homicide, simply because she'd never seen someone
die of natural causes and then be cut up and thrown into a trash bin. Still,
without the head, where the trauma most likely occurred, she couldn't say for
sure if this man had been shot to death, had his throat slit or died in some
Without that, she ruled the death undetermined.
Powell recalled Dozier's reaction as soon as word of the grisly discovery
started making it to the news.
"I fucked up," Dozier said, according to Powell.
The body had been found without the head and no hands to fingerprint, but it
had 2 distinctive tattoos - 1 of a dragon and the other saying "Always
But it wasn't all dread, Powell testified. Dozier had blown up clips of news
stories and was bragging about the situation, he said.
He had a "fat roll of money" and handed out a few hundreds to Powell. And
Powell also reported that Dozier had drawn pictures of dismembered bodies in
Dozier was arrested in Arizona about two months after Miller's body was found,
after police had staked out his parents' home and pursued him in a short car
chase that ended in a crash, according to Phoenix police.
The case against Dozier hinged largely on the testimony of a few friends with
criminal histories including Joe Wolslager, a fellow military veteran who said
he'd sometimes get high with Dozier for days at a time. He described a
breathless call he received from Dozier one night, in which Dozier said he had
a guy in a suitcase and was on his way to the lake.
According to Wolslager, Dozier explained that he had been in the hotel room
with Miller, who was relaxed and leaning in a chair, and he assured him they
were going to make some money. Dozier said that's when he shot him, Wolslager
Dozier went on to say he hung Miller up in the shower and slit his throat,
according to Wolslager. To avoid getting DNA on his clothes, he stripped down
naked as he was working with the lifeless body.
Jerry Wimberly, a neighbor of Dozier's and a fellow meth user, had gone to the
La Concha to buy meth. He testified that Dozier asked him to go into the
bathroom to see something, and that's when he saw the body of a man in the
bathtub, with his detached head sitting on his chest and the shower running.
"That's about all I needed to say," Wimberly said during Dozier's trial. "I
almost threw up and I turned around. I left the room immediately."
Wimberly testified that he recognized the man in the tub because they'd smoked
meth together and he had taken Miller and his girlfriend to a drugstore to buy
toiletries at one point. But he said Dozier didn't say he killed Miller.
The head, Dozier allegedly told Wolslager, was in a 5-gallon bucket and
wouldn't be found. Another witness, La Concha employee Joe Minarcin, recalled
loaning Dozier cement, a dolly and a bucket and never seeing them again.
At one point, police received information that the head might have been in a
pool construction area at the La Concha. Metro excavated the area with a
bulldozer, but never found the head.
Barbra Meagher, who knew she was one of Dozier's many girlfriends but didn't
care, recalled seeing a big suitcase in the room when she visited him at La
Concha for meth and sex. At a preliminary hearing, she said he seemed nervous
and insinuated that he had shot someone.
And she recalled shopping bags from various stores - even something he bought
her from a toy store.
She recalls a gun on the bedside table but said she didn't call police "because
I thought that I loved him."
No blood found
Defense attorneys argued that there's not nearly enough physical evidence at
the alleged scene of the crime. Analysts who used the chemical Leucocrystal
Violet to search for evidence of blood at motel rooms at the La Concha, which
has since been demolished, found no signs of blood - an odd situation for the
place where Jeremiah was supposedly shot, bled out, and possibly dismembered.
"8 wine bottles of blood. Where is it?" defense attorney Clark Patrick said
during closing statements, adding that Dozier didn't need to testify to be not
guilty. "Where and how did Jeremiah die? How was he dismembered?"
They called into question the theory that Dozier cleaned the scene with
Oxiclean before giving the remainder of the cleaning product to a waitress from
the Peppermill whom he had casually dated.
Oxiclean is not good at cleaning blood - experts say it must be concentrated to
clean blood, that it creates foam that it doesn't dissolve well in water and
leaves a grainy residue.
"It would be very rare to not find any blood evidence at a homicide scene if
bleeding was involved," said George Schiro, a witness for the defense and a DNA
lead at Acadiana Crime Lab in Louisiana.
Why was there no evidence of a close-range shooting, such as powder burns,
stippling or gun residue? Why was there no evidence of a long-range shooting,
such as blood spatter?
And the witnesses - the defense wrote off much of their testimony as the
ramblings of people who were high during the entirety of the events they
apparently saw and had been convicted of serious crimes themselves.
"The state has not provided you with enough evidence to prove Scott did
anything, let alone beyond a reasonable doubt," Patrick said.
The defense raised the prospect that Darryl - the Arizona drug dealer nicknamed
"Grandpa" who loaned Miller money for the meth precursors - could have been to
"'Grandpa' has a lot to lose, and is the only person never questioned," Patrick
Douglas' decision not to join her boyfriend Miller on his second trip to Vegas
was also suspicious, Patrick said.
"Brandy didn't want to be around when Grandpa found Miller stiffed him," he
said. "Why would Brandy think, so soon, that Jeremiah was missing? Did Brandy
The defense asked why police never followed up much on a bloody Yankees jersey
that was found cut into three pieces and stuffed in a bucket near the Dumpster,
or a lug wrench dropped nearby. The jersey tested positive for a female's
blood, but whose was it?
Jurors ended up convicting Dozier, but his lawyers sought to spare him from a
"If you impose death on Scott Dozier ... the methamphetamines win," argued his
lawyer, Alzora Jackson. "It's just more killing, more carnage, more pain. You
can stop it."
According to a Las Vegas Review-Journal story from the time, Dozier's lawyers
sought a deal in which Dozier would have pleaded guilty to 1st-degree murder,
accepted a life sentence, given up his appeals and told the Miller family what
happened to their son.
But then-District Attorney David Roger rejected the compromise, saying a death
penalty review committee had approved execution for Dozier and nothing had
changed since then.
"This individual killed 2 people and he deserved the ultimate punishment,"
Roger said, according to the newspaper.
Even before Dozier gave up his appeals and embarked on a long quest to the
execution chamber, telling a judge last summer that "It's been a long time,
your honor. I'm ready to go," lawyers at his trial opined that Nevada's death
penalty regime is a bit absurd.
"I was actually in the courtroom when that 2nd to last individual was fighting
to die, and he was arguing with the court to get it going," said prosecutor
Giancarlo Pesci. "And as surreal as that experience was, I think that's highly
indicative of the state of capital punishment in the state of Nevada at this
Critics say it's neither swift nor equally applied. Scott Coffee, a public
defender and active death penalty case observer, likened the situation to
Experts have determined that Dozier is competent enough to make the decision
himself, even though a psychologist has said he has elements of "an antisocial
personality disorder with narcissistic traits." The psychologist observed that
he's manipulative and hypersexual, using his looks to get attention and
requiring admiration from others.
A 2005 review concluded that Dozier had an above-average IQ, but also lacked
empathy and believes he's invincible. He exhibits "arrogant and overbearing
behaviors fed by fantasies of unlimited success," and has a "superficial or
glib charm and a grandiose sense of self worth" that made him persuasive and
Behind bars, he made a suicide attempt in 2004 after saving up his medications.
But he didn't have any major infractions in prison by the time his case went to
trial - nothing more serious than having an extra pillowcase in his possession.
He told the Review-Journal he's an atheist and doesn't believe there will be
life after death.
"I don't have any grand expectations," he said Sunday in a short phone call to
a reporter. "I think it's just done. I think it's just black."
But even though his life at Ely State Prison is somewhat comfortable - he does
art, works out, listens to music and keeps in touch with family - his
description of death row to the Reno Gazette-Journal is hardly more flattering
than the infinite blackness he expects to meet shortly after 8 p.m. on
Wednesday. It's boring, it's monotonous, it's the same people over and over
"Life in prison isn't a life," he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "This
isn't living, man. It's just surviving."
In Nevada, death penalty has evolved from frontier spectacle to rare rite of
volunteers asking to die
Like other frontier states, Nevada's history is replete with stories of hanging
outlaws and swiftly avenging the heinous crimes of the Wild West.
The state has even stood at the vanguard of capital punishment, pioneering a
3-gun execution machine in 1913, becoming the 1st to employ a gas chamber in
1924 and now devising a 3-drug lethal injection combination that includes the
deathly effective painkiller fentanyl - a method that's never been used before.
But while Nevada's electorate remains firmly supportive of preserving the death
penalty and bills to abolish it as recently as last year have gained little
traction in the Legislature, it remains infrequently used - a trend stemming
from both the cultural peculiarities of the state and the structure of its
criminal justice system.
With a frequent rate of conviction reversal and virtually all of the executions
in the past 40 years coming from people who voluntarily give up their right to
appeal and are asking the state to kill them, critics say the system is broken
"This smells a lot of state-assisted suicide," said Scott Coffee, a Clark
County deputy public defender who's focused on death penalty cases.
As Nevada prepares to carry out its 1st execution in 12 years on Wednesday
evening, here's some background on how the state has approached the ultimate
Sondra Cosgrove, a history professor at the College of Southern Nevada, traces
the roots of capital punishment to early civilization, when humans were largely
at the mercy of their environment and communities sought to quickly rid
themselves of anyone who was potentially harming the group. Little time
typically elapsed between the crime and the punishment - a practice that
continued into Nevada's early years.
Because of inconsistent record-keeping in the past, it's unknown exactly how
many executions Nevada has had since it became a recognized territory and then
a state in 1864. But state archives indicate there have been at least 75 in
what is present-day Nevada.
Early executions were popular public spectacles. The 1st legal one in Nevada
Territory happened Jan. 9, 1863, when Allen Milstead was hanged outside of
Dayton less than three months after the killing of a Lyon County commissioner.
An estimated 700 people came out to watch.
Mark Twain was among the 4,000 or so witnesses in the 1868 hanging of John
Millian outside of Virginia City. Millian was accused in the strangulation
murder of a prostitute named Julia Bulette.
And in a botched execution in 1868, 20-year-old Rufus B. Anderson had to be
dropped from the gallows 3 times before he died. The crowd tried to intervene
after the 1st drop didn't kill him.
The Legislature tried to tamp down on the circus atmosphere in 1875, when it
passed a law that prohibits public executions without invitations. Today, the
state only allows a half-dozen journalists, immediate family members of the
victims and prison officials to witness the execution.
Only 1 woman was ever executed - Elizabeth Potts, who was hanged with her
husband, Josiah Potts, in Elko on a double gallows on June 20, 1890 for
murdering and mutilating a man.
The state's execution practices evolved rapidly in the early 20th century. In
1901, the Legislature called for all executions to take place at the state
prison in Carson City; in 1911, the state allowed for execution by shooting and
in 1913, it approved electrocution as a method.
In 1924, Nevada became the first state in the country to execute a person in a
gas chamber. Gee Jon, a Chinese man, was executed for the murder of a fellow
countryman in Mina. The state would go on to execute 31 more men in the chamber
until the 1979, when Jesse Bishop died by lethal gas.
Nevada adopted lethal injection for executions in 1983. If Scott Dozier's
execution happens as planned, he will be the 12th person put to death by that
A FRONTIER STATE
Death penalty laws and practices vary widely by state, and even more so by
country. 19 states and the District of Columbia have abolished the practice,
with the earliest being Michigan in 1846 and the most recent being Delaware in
4 states - Colorado, Pennsylvania, Washington and Oregon ??? have a
governor-called moratorium on executions. But 31 states, including Nevada,
still have the death penalty.
Worldwide, at least 142 countries have either legally or practically ceased
using the death penalty, according to Amnesty International. The group
estimated that most of the 993 executions carried out in 2017 occurred in
China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan.
Southern states including Texas use it most often - they account for 1,193 of
the country's executions since the U.S. Supreme Court lifted a moratorium on
the practice in 1976. The Midwest has had 181 in that time period, while the
West has had 85 and the Northeast counts just 4.
Texas has had 544 executions in those four decades, compared with 12 in Nevada.
The reasons for Texas having such a high rate of execution has a number of
explanations, including the fact that its appellate judges are elected and
often need to take a tough on crime stance to win voters and that its system of
court-appointed lawyers for defending indigents can lead to inexperienced
attorneys working death penalty cases.
In the book The Rope, the Chair, and the Needle: Capital Punishment in Texas,
1923-1990, the authors attribute Texas' execution rate to the Southern
"cultural tradition of exclusion," and that "such exclusion was a basic element
of the legacy of slavery."
The authors theorize that the South has a tradition of dehumanizing groups of
people has made it easier for Southerners to separate themselves from people
who depart from social and legal norms.
Cosgrove says Nevada's urges toward swift "frontier justice" have been tempered
in recent decades by concerns about image - the desire, especially in Las Vegas
and among corporate interests, to be a fantasy land far removed from crime and
A BROKEN SYSTEM?
Nevada's juries have opted for a death sentence 186 times between 1977 and
2017. But that's only yielded an execution 12 times, and in 11 of those cases,
the condemned voluntarily gave up appeals.
The 1 involuntary execution was of Richard Moran, a defendant who hadn't
exhausted all his legal resources when he was initially on trial for 3 murders
- he discharged his lawyers and changed his pleas to guilty before he was
sentenced to death.
Brendan Riley, who witnessed numerous executions during his long career as an
Associated Press correspondent in Carson City, recalls that all the death row
inmates he interviewed said they were ready to go when their execution date
"There was nobody saying 'I don't want to this, I don't want to die,'" he said,
noting that one inmate even gulped the gas in the execution chamber in an
effort to speed along the process. "In a sense, that makes it easier to deal
with for everybody. These are people who don't want to spend their lives on
Human rights organization Amnesty International, however, is critical of what
it calls the "volunteer phenomenon." While only about 10 % of all executions
conducted since 1976 have been of volunteers, Nevada's volunteer rate stands at
A handful of states that had been executing high numbers of volunteers decided
to scrap the penalty. Connecticut and New Mexico abolished the death penalty in
the past decade, and Oregon, Pennsylvania and Washington State have put
moratoriums on executions.
"The State's mechanism of execution [is] triggered by an entirely arbitrary
factor: the defendant's decision to acquiesce in his own death," wrote Justice
Stephen Breyer in a 2015 dissenting opinion.
In an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal over the weekend, Dozier said
he was still holding firm to a desire to die and that "if people say they're
going to kill me, get to it."
"Life in prison isn't a life," he told the newspaper. "This isn't living, man.
It's just surviving."
The punishment loses meaning at that point, critics say.
"It becomes not about who deserves it the most, but who's most willing to go to
the death chamber and that should make us take a hard look at ourselves," said
Coffee. "The easy [answer] is executing more people, but mistakes start getting
CONCERNS ABOUT FAIRNESS
One potential consequence of executions is killing an innocent person - a risk
underscored by the fact that many people sent to death row later triumph in
appeals of their conviction or sentence.
According to a report by Harvard University???s Fair Punishment Project,
prosecutorial misconduct was found in 47 % of the Clark County death penalty
cases directly appealed to the Nevada Supreme Court between 2006 and 2016,
although a sentence can sometimes be reinstated if the courts redo the trial or
And in more than 31 % of Nevada cases, an inmate is permanently taken from
death row because their conviction or penalty has been reversed or vacated.
That was the case of Michael Domingues, who was convicted of committing a
double murder when he was 16 years old. A U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2005 -
12 years after the killings - barred states from executing people for crimes
they committed while they were younger than 18.
"When you think about it, we do not trust government to hand out driver's
licenses," said Drew Johnson, a senior fellow at the Taxpayers Protection
Alliance, told Nevada lawmakers in a hearing last March. "Even if we lived in a
dream world where we were sure we never put an innocent person to death, it
still gives government power it should not have: to be able to kill its own
For Riley, questions of the inmate's guilt were paramount as he prepared for
and witnessed executions.
"I always hoped that everything was looked at very closely by a jury, by a
judge - everyone involved in the legal process so there was no question of
guilt," he said.
Even so, he said the experience was a strange one.
"You are watching someone die and you are not doing anything about it. That's a
weird state of mind because if someone's drowning, you throw them a rope," he
said. "I wish that everybody who was involved in that legal process - including
the jury, the judge, the prosecutor - would be present as a witness ... so they
know and understand what it means, what society is doing."
Aside from concerns about justice, pursuing the death penalty is expensive. 2
defense attorneys must be appointed instead of one, and the case must examine
not only the day of the crime, but the person???s entire life story, Coffee
A 2014 state audit found cases where the death penalty is sought cost about
$532,000 more than murder cases where prosecutors don't pursue capital
EFFORTS TO REPEAL
The most recent attempt to repeal the death penalty came in the 2017
legislative session, where a bill sponsored by Democratic Assemblyman James
Ohrenschall failed to advance out of an Assembly committee. Ohrenschall, who is
now running for state Senate, said he was unsure if he would bring the bill
back in the 2019 legislative session.
One potential qualm for lawmakers is that the death penalty itself is still
overwhelmingly viewed favorably by Nevadans. A poll commissioned by The Nevada
Independent last year found that 66 % of voters preferred to keep the death
penalty in place, compared to just 22 % who opposed it and 7 % unsure.
Coffee said that in legislative hearings, victims' families tend to capture the
sympathies of lawmakers more than those defending death row inmates.
"The case against it is overwhelming," he said about the death penalty, "but I
gotta tell you - the emotional side of things often falls to the opposition.
Someone comes in and has a loved one killed - those are pretty fundamental,
gut-wrenching, decision-making realities and the emotion of the situation is
with the victims and the victims??? families."
Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval said in 2017 that he would reject any bill
seeking to abolish capital punishment, and the 2 main candidates to replace him
have both said they wouldn't get rid of the death penalty.
Republican attorney general and gubernatorial candidate Adam Laxalt wrote in a
2017 letter submitted for a hearing on the capital punishment abolishment bill
that his office was strongly opposed to the bill and getting rid of the penalty
in the face of public support would "risk undermining their faith in the
"It is fundamental to our concept of justice in Nevada for the worst, most
violent acts of murder, juries should consider whether death is an appropriate
punishment," he wrote in the letter. "The death penalty is not imposed lightly,
and is only possible in a narrow context when the jury finds that specific
aggravating circumstances outweigh any mitigating circumstances. Circumstances
in which at least one life has been violently taken, leaving other lives
shattered as a result."
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Sisolak, the chair of the Clark County
Commission, said he was mostly opposed to use of the death penalty but said it
was warranted in extreme cases, such as that of Las Vegas Strip shooter Stephen
Paddock, who died by suicide shortly after the massacre.
Republican Assemblyman Keith Pickard was one of those who attended a hearing on
banishing the death penalty. He had several takeaways - including that he
doesn't think executions deter crime, but that victims' families' testimonies
brought the matter into better focus and that voters should weigh in on the
legality of capital punishment.
"I've always felt like it should be a tool in the toolbox for the most
egregious of crimes," he said about the death penalty. "I think that this is an
appropriate response. Not the state looking to kill people to respond. This is
the state looking to carry out a judicial process."
Nancy Hart of the Nevada Coalition Against the Death Penalty said she was
disappointed that Democratic leadership didn't prioritize the bill, saying that
she feels the Legislature is deferring too much to the executive branch on the
"On a personal level I feel dismayed and sad because ... it is a human rights
violation and it's happening in our names," she said in an interview last fall
about Dozier's execution. "And it feels wrong and this has nothing to do with
whether Scott Dozier wants it. It's such a barbaric, outdated act."
Her group will be staging a protest in front of the Governor's Mansion in
Carson City on Wednesday, just before the scheduled execution is set to take
place more than 300 miles away.
"We deeply sympathize with all those who have lost relatives or friends due to
violent crime, especially the family and loved ones of Jeremiah Miller, the
victim in Mr. Dozier's case," she said in a statement announcing the vigil.
"However, killing is not the solution to violence and does not promote true
As for closure, Riley said he never got the sense that victims' families who
witnessed executions with him felt much satisfaction after watching the death
of the person convicted of killing their loved one.
"My personal feeling is there's not closure," he said. "They're totally weirded
out by the situation. It's bizarre, unnatural."
(source for both: The Nevada Independent)
Nevada prison illegally bought execution drugs, pharma company
alleges----Alvogen says the sedative midazolam, to be used in execution of
Scott Dozier, was obtained through subterfuge
A multinational pharmaceutical company has accused the heads of Nevada's
prisons and health departments of conspiring to illegally buy one of its drugs
to use in an execution on Wednesday.
A federal judge has called a hearing just hours before the killing is due to
take place to listen to a demand by the drug manufacturer Alvogen for a block
on the use of its sedative, midazolam, in putting to death Scott Dozier for
Alvogen claims in court papers that the drug was obtained by state officials
through subterfuge, including the misuse of the Nevada chief medical officer's
licence to buy controlled medications that were then illegally diverted for use
in the execution chamber.
The midazolam would be used to sedate Dozier before he is killed using
fentanyl, a drug at the forefront of the US opioid epidemic that was also
allegedly obtained illicitly.
Nevada has struggled to find drugs to carry out Dozier's execution because of
resistance from manufacturers.
Following the use of midazolam in a number of botched executions, Alvogen wrote
to the governors, attorney generals and prison authorities in every state with
a death penalty saying it "strongly objects to the use of its products in
One of the letters was sent to Nevada???s Ely state prison where executions are
carried out, addressed to the warden, Timothy Filson.
Alvogen alleges that the state began buying drugs covertly and that Nevada's
department of corrections used a licence held by the state's chief medical
officer to surreptitiously obtain the midazolam.
The company said the license was used on a purchase order in a deliberate
attempt to dupe a drug wholesaler, Cardinal Health, into believing that the 90
vials of the medicine were to be used by a doctor in legitimate medical
The lawsuit said that to perpetuate the deception, the authorities had the
midazolam shipped to the department of correction???s central pharmacy rather
than to the prison where the execution is to take place.
Alvogen said that Nevada law is clear that it is an offence to obtain a
controlled drug "by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception, subterfuge or
alteration". The company said the authorities deliberately sought to circumvent
attempts to keep the drug out of the hands of the executioners.
The lawsuit names the director of Nevada's department of corrections, James
Dzurenda, and the state's chief medical officer, Dr Ihsan Azzam, as conspiring
to buy the midazolam along with an unidentified doctor who will participate in
But Azzam denied any part in obtaining the drug. "I had absolutely no role," he
told the Guardian. "I don't know why I'm named. It may just be by default
because I'm the chief medical officer of the state. But neither I nor our
agency had any role in how this medication was purchased."
Azzam also noted that he did not take up his post until several days after the
first order for midazolam went in, in May, although he was chief medical
officer for later deliveries.
The Nevada department of corrections said it had no comment on the lawsuit.
The company further alleges that the doctor who acts as medical officer at the
execution will be breaking a Nevada law requiring that a physician administer
controlled drugs solely for a legitimate medical purpose.
Alvogen said the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of midazolam as
therapy and any other use is an offence. Nevada obtained the midazolam after
its supply of another sedative, diazepam, commonly known as Valium, expired.
Alvogen said in its lawsuit that midazolam has been involved in a number of
botched executions across the US when it failed to sufficiently sedate the
condemned man. These included the 2014 attempt to execute Clayton Lockett in
Oklahoma, which was called off after he regained consciousness but died of a
heart attack 40 minutes later. The same year, the execution of Joseph Wood in
Arizona dragged on for more than an hour after he was dosed with midazolam but
was not fully sedated and appeared in great distress.
(source: The Guardian)
Nevada to become 1st state to execute inmate with fentanyl----Questions raised
about whether the state's department of corrections broke the law to obtain the
drug, which is at the heart of the US opioid epidemic
Nevada plans to carry out the 1st execution using fentanyl, a drug at the heart
of the US opioid epidemic, on Wednesday.
The state intends to use a synthetic opioid - involved in more than 20,000
overdose deaths in 2016 alone - to kill Scott Dozier, a double murderer, after
finding it difficult to obtain other drugs for Nevada's 1st execution in 12
years because of opposition from pharmaceutical manufacturers.
But questions have been raised about whether Nevada's department of corrections
broke the law to obtain the fentanyl, and whether the multibillion dollar
distribution company that provided the drug ignored evidence it was to be used
in an execution.
Fentanyl has moved to the centre of the opioid epidemic as a powerful and
dangerous illicit powder, one hundred times more potent than morphine and
frequently mixed with heroin or pressed into fake prescription pills. But it is
also sold as a prescription painkiller, including a version for injection which
can kill in higher dosages.
"Using fentanyl in an execution is particularly strange and confusing because
of its place in the opioid epidemic," said the legal director of the American
Civil Liberties Union in Nevada, Amy Rose. "But on top of that it's never been
used in an execution before. It???s extremely experimental. There is a very
real risk of a botched execution."
Dozier will be injected with fentanyl and two other drugs. One of them is a
sedative, midazolam, involved in a number of executions where the condemned man
has been seen convulsing, gasping and in evident pain before death.
"It has been at the centre of executions that have gone visibly wrong in every
single state in which it has been used," said Maya Foa, the director of the
anti-death penalty group Reprieve. "Now it's being used with fentanyl. This is
an entirely novel protocol across the United States."
Foa said that states are usually obliged by the appeals process to subject the
planned method of execution to legal scrutiny, particularly when a new drug
protocol is being used. But Dozier has waved appeals and said he wants to die
so the combination of medicines to be used to kill him has not been examined in
Death penalty states have been forced to find different cocktails of drugs for
executions in the face of opposition from manufacturers to having their
medicines used in lethal injections . That has led states to try whatever mix
of drugs they can buy, often in secrecy.
The Nevada authorities refused to make public how they obtained the fentanyl
and other drugs, but last week the ACLU won a court ruling forcing the
department of corrections to hand over invoices. They show that it placed
multiple small orders over a number of months, sometimes just one day after the
previous order. It is not clear if this was an attempt to avoid drawing the
attention a single large order of fentanyl would bring.
The drugs were ordered from one of the US's largest pharmaceutical distribution
companies, Cardinal Health, which is among wholesalers facing a barrage of
lawsuits accusing them of profiteering from the opioid epidemic by delivering
vast quantities of prescription painkillers to small pharmacies and ignoring
evidence they were being used by people addicted to the drugs.
Rose said the rights group is examining why the distributor delivered the drug
to the Nevada prison authorities even after it was publicly known they intended
to use fentanyl to kill Dozier.
"It's concerning that Cardinal Health would sell it to the department of
corrections if it knew the drugs would be used in executions," she said.
Rose said the ACLU is seeking more documentation to see if the Nevada
authorities "lied to Cardinal in any way".
Last year, Cardinal Health paid a $44m fine for failing to adhere to
regulations intended to prevent opioids falling into the hands of those
addicted to the drugs. The company was not immediately available for comment.
The ACLU has also raised questions about the legality of the state's actions in
buying the drugs. The law allows only those doctors and medical institutions
with a Drug Enforcement Administration-issued licence to obtain and administer
scheduled medicines. Rose said it appears that the fentanyl was bought by one
arm of the prison authorities with the necessary licence but then passed on to
the execution site where there is no such authority to handle what is supposed
to be a tightly controlled drug.
"The DEA licence they used to obtain these drugs is the regular department of
corrections hospital clinic in Las Vegas. But the department of corrections
doesn't have a licence to administer the drugs at the execution," she said.
(source: The Guardian)
Nevada wants to execute an inmate with fentanyl. Should doctors help?
When Nevada officials strap convicted murderer Scott Dozier to the execution
gurney on Wednesday evening, the lethal drugs they'll pump through his veins to
end his life will have been vetted by no less than 2 people sworn to do no
As states confront a nationwide shortage of lethal injection drugs, driven by
drugmakers' reluctance to be associated with capital punishment, they've
increasingly scrambled to figure out how to execute people without violating
the Constitution's ban on "cruel and unusual punishments." That's led them to
resort to untested drug protocols. Like in Nevada: On Wednesday, the state will
try a brand-new combination of the sedative midazolam, the synthetic opioid
fentanyl, and the paralytic drug cisatracurium.
At least 2 physicians (an anesthesiologist and an OB-GYN) who've served as
Nevada's chief medical officers were "consulted" about the state's protocol.
But as states try out new lethal injection drugs, each untested protocol raises
the issue of whether doctors - bound by the tradition of the Hippocratic Oath -
should carry out lethal injections or even offer advice to death penalty states
The debate is far from settled, even among people who oppose lethal injection
or capital punishment.
Death row interview: Scott Dozier says he is ready to be executed and reveals
Every day is the same routine.
"I wake up, have a cup of coffee, draw, do my art, put the music on until it's
time to go to the yard," Scott Dozier said in an interview with the Reno
Gazette Journal last week. "I go to the yard, and I go out and play handball or
basketball. "It's basically art, music and working out."
For the past decade, the twice-convicted murderer has lived on death row at Ely
State Prison. He was sentenced to death in 2007 for the murder of 22-year-old
Jeremiah Miller, whose decapitated and dismembered torso was found in a
suitcase inside a dumpster at a Las Vegas motel.
And for the past year, Dozier has been fighting to secure his own execution. He
described life on death row as "not an acceptable life."
"I lived a life outside the law," Dozier, 47, said in a recent phone interview.
"You want to kill me, kill me, man."
And his demand will be met at 8 p.m. Wednesday. The state plans to use a 3-drug
combination to carry out Dozier's execution.
1 of the drugs, the sedative midazolam, has been blamed for botched executions
in Arizona, Ohio, Alabama, Arkansas and Florida. The other 2 drugs, the opioid
fentanyl and a paralytic called cisatracurium, have never been used in an
If midazolam fails, it could leave Dozier conscious and aware when the other 2
drugs are administered; he would feel himself suffocating.
Still, Dozier's voice was calm when he talked about his own death. He was
fast-talking, well-spoken and his voice was steady.
"As long as it does it sufficiently, I'm not worried about the paralytic,"
According to the state's execution protocol, a team will administer 500
milligrams of midazolam, followed by 5,000 micrograms of fentanyl. Finally,
they'll administer 200 milligrams of the paralytic drug.
"I was a little bit concerned with the initial numbers they put out," Dozier
said. "But the numbers, once they upped them, seem sufficient."
"I don't even really care," he said. "I mean, ideally, I don't want to be on
their (expletive) table suffering and not being able to breathe and be aware of
"The fact is they're not going to allow me off that table if I'm not dead. It's
going to get achieved."
Life on death row
Dozier said inmates get an hour of recreation on the prison yard.,P> "I could
potentially be out with other people, but most of those people don't go out to
the yard," Dozier said. "So, there's 4 or 5 people I see consistently."
Dozier said "most other inmates are looking for ways to stay alive."
For the most part, Dozier is surrounded by white walls in his 6-by-12-foot
cell. He has photos of friends and family and a small TV that sits atop of a
shelf. He has boxes of paperwork that line the wall across from his cot. CDs
are neatly stacked nearby. And he has his pastel drawings taped to the wall.
The only view to the outside world is through a small window slit beside his
"Prison is just boring," Dozier said. "I mean, boring is a sign of a weak mind.
It's just monotonous. It's the same 48 people day-in and day-out."
Since 1976, 1,418 people have been executed in the United States. Of that
total, only 145 volunteered - about 10 %, according to the nonprofit Death
Penalty Information Center.
Texas alone has executed 552 inmates, and only 6 % were volunteers.
Dozier will be the 1st inmate to be executed in 12 years in Nevada. The last
inmate executed in the state was Daryl Mack in 2006.
Mack, who murdered a Reno mother of three, voluntarily gave up his right to
appeal his death sentence.
Of the 12 inmates executed since Nevada reinstated capital punishment in 1977,
11 were volunteers - that's 92 %.
"So, the rate of volunteers executed is 10 times higher in Nevada than the rest
of the country," said Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty
"It has to be something related to prison conditions that is exacerbating
pre-existing mental health issues."
Meredith Martin Rountree has experience litigating death penalty cases. She's
represented people facing the death penalty in Arizona, Washington and Texas,
and helped establish the University of Texas School of Law's Capital Punishment
She said she's had an interest in the "phenomenon of so-called 'volunteers,'
people who seek their own execution."
"There's this question about condition of confinement," Rountree said. "It does
seem that people complained more about the fact of incarceration rather than
the conditions of incarceration."
Rountree said there's a question of whether prison wears a person down to such
a point that they would rather die.
"The experience of incarceration is a powerful experience I don't want to
minimize," she said.
Defense attorney Scott Coffee, of the Clark County Public Defender's Office,
has handled death penalty cases for more than 15 years. He said death row
inmates are kept in individual cells, less than 100 square feet.
"People are transported to showers alone," Coffee said. "People are transported
to visiting areas with guards. They are in chains in certain areas. It is a
Death row inmates are under 24-hour surveillance.
"So, people see what you're doing in your cell and what you're doing out of
your cell," he said. "There's a small yard they can go out and exercise, but
it's not very big. It's about a few hundred square feet and it has buildings
For Dozier, life in prison was a small part of the reason why he decided to
move forward with his execution.
"There are cumulative bunch of reasons," Dozier said. "There are other things
that are a little more personal. I don't want to be a grandfather in prison."
Dozier said he was close with his grandfather. And Dozier's son felt the same
way about his grandfather, too.
"I'm not going to break the tradition by getting to know my grandchildren
across the freaking prison table," Dozier said. "It's unfair to my son and his
Decades behind bars
Another reason why some inmates might decide to volunteer is the long trial and
appeal process, which can last decades.
In Dozier's case, he was set to be executed in November last year. But defense
attorneys argued the drugs used in the lethal injection could cause him to
suffer, violating his Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual
Nevada prison officials got the OK to move forward with the execution in May
after the Supreme Court ruled that defense lawyers and the American Civil
Liberties Union used the wrong process to try to stop the lethal injection.
"I will say this, it's been difficult," Dozier said. "The last several months,
since the stay (of execution) in November, have been the most emotionally
fraught in my life in that it's exceptionally difficult to live waiting for an
answer for something as monumental and grave as this.
"It's exceptionally difficult to stay vigilant in being prepared for death."
Dozier said he was often moved to the High Desert State Prison for court. Then
he was back doing the same thing he's been doing for a decade, something he's
grown accustomed to.
"But peculiarly at the same time, I'm not nearly as prepared emotionally as I
was at the initial time," Dozier said.
Free decision vs. mental illness
Rountree said she's focused her academic research on how the criminal justice
system intersects with mental illness. In 2014, Rountree conducted a study of
volunteer executions in Texas.
"One of the things that we know nationally about volunteers is that it is
substantially a phenomenon of white men," she said.
Rountree said white men have higher suicide rates outside of prison. She
believes there's a link between people who commit a capital offense and those
in the midst of a domestic crisis. And that could all be associated with the
decision to give up appeals.
"They tend to be solo actors, at least in Texas," Rountree said. "Maybe they
cannot diffuse responsibility for their actions."
Most decide early on to give up their appeal, she said.
"I think that they have not had the opportunity to see that life on death row
can be survivable," Rountree said. "Some people manage to create lives that
have meaning on death row, and some have not made that move."
Coffee, a defense attorney in Las Vegas, said the only non-volunteer in Nevada
has been Richard Moran, who was executed in 1996 for killing his wife and tw2
Both Rountree and Coffee agreed mental health is a huge issue.
"For Moran, you have a history of depression and other things," Coffee said.
And although Dozier was evaluated for competency and he was found competent,
Coffee still has doubts.
"There is a substantial mental health component to all of this," Coffee said.
"If you're on death row in Nevada, you're in a pretty small island.
"There's not a lot of sunshine. There's not a lot of input from the outside
world. And those things are prone to cause depression, they just are. You see
it when people from Las Vegas moved to someplace with a rainy climate and you
can't go outside."
Dunham, of the Death Penalty Information Center, said most people who give up
their appeals are white, which fits the general demographics of those who
And that creates another set of issues. Dunham said the weight of error in
death penalty case is high.
"There's been 1 person exonerated for every 9.14 people who have been
executed," he said, estimating 160 people have been exonerated in the U.S.
"With error rates that are that high, with a punishment that is irreversible
and incomparably severe ... you want to ensure that cases get carefully
reviewed by the court.
"When people give up their appeals, especially people who are mentally ill,
that makes it impossible to have any confidence in the reliability of the death
sentence in their case."
Dunham said most volunteers are people who have mental health issues in their
"So far what the United States Supreme Court has done is allow the executions
to go forward," he said. "And that shows that the prisoner is not competent to
make that decision.
"Where do you draw the line in determining whether that decision is a free and
informed choice versus a choice that is a product of mental illness. Or, the
caroused product of a desire to avoid the conditions of confinement?"
(source: Reno Gazette Journal)
Death penalty a possibility in cases against indicted suspected gang members
Half of the 18 suspected gang members and associates facing federal charges in
connection with a 2016 homicide in Danville could potentially face the death
penalty if convicted, Virginia's U.S. Attorney's office said.
Before a federal death penalty can be pursued, experts explained, the state's
U.S. Attorney???s Office must recommend it to a committee within the Department
of Justice in the District of Columbia. There, defense attorneys argue against
it, and the punishment is either authorized or denied.
The 9 defendants were indicted June 11 on charges of federal racketeering and
murder across two separate federal cases. Indictments show those cases are
based on alleged membership in 2 criminal street gangs - the Rollin 60s and the
MILLAs. They, along with 9 more defendants facing lesser charges, will see
their cases move to Roanoke's federal courthouse to go before Chief Judge for
Virginia's Western District, Michael F. Urbanski, court documents show.
Each of those defendants have retained attorneys qualified to handle charges
that carry the death penalty as a maximum punishment, according to court
Trials have not been scheduled for either case, according to the Virginia U.S.
Attorney's office. Death penalty cases often require a great deal of time and
money to adjudicate, said Jody Madeira, professor of law at Indiana University
"It usually can be like 6 months before these things even go to trial," she
Because murder alone is not a capital offense, federal death penalties hinge on
exclusively-federal powers and authorities like the Interstate Commerce Clause
in conjunction with the murder charge, which Robert Dunham, executive director
of the Washington, D.C.-based Death Penalty Information Center, said could be
used against the 9 indicted.
"The underlying power to criminalize a continuing criminal enterprise is the
interstate commerce clause," he said in a phone interview. "[Prosecutors] first
need whatever that federal interest is."
Because each of the 9 is charged with federal racketeering and with murder,
Dunham said, the government could use the clause to pursue capital punishment.
Charges in the 2 separate cases range from murder to accessory to a crime and
are connected to the fatal shooting of Christopher Lamont Motley and attempted
murder of Justion Wilson in the Southwyck Apartment complex on North Hills
Court on Aug. 20, 2016. A federal official has said the suspects were involved
in orchestrating a shootout where Motley, an innocent bystander, was caught in
The 1st defendant in the MILLAs case where court documents mentioned the death
penalty is Montez Lamar Allen, on June 17, who is charged with murder in the
aid of racketeering, use of a firearm during a violent crime and other felony
The 1st defendant in the Rollin 60s case where court documents mentioned the
death penalty is Kanas Lamont'e Trent, on June 20, who is charged with murder
in the aid of racketeering, attempted murder, use of a firearm during a violent
crime and other felony counts.
"This prosecution is certainly the largest and most significant prosecution of
federal, organized criminal activity our office has prosecuted in at least a
decade," said Brian McGinn of the Virginia U.S. Attorney's Office in an email.
McGinn said the prosecution is part of Project Safe Neighborhood - a public
safety initiative Attorney General Jeff Sessions revived in late 2017 to
"target emerging or chronic crime problems facing the country," according to
the Department of Justice's website.
President Donald Trump has long supported the death penalty, though the number
of federal death penalties pursued since he took office has been relatively
low, Dunham said.
The last person to be executed on federal charges was Louis Jones Jr., a U.S.
soldier convicted of kidnapping and raping another U.S. soldier, according to
the Death Penalty Information Center. He was executed in March 2003.
There are currently seven people convicted of committed crimes in Virginia on
federal death row. Most federal inmates are imprisoned in Terre Haute, Indiana.
While the federal gang cases originated in Danville, they will be tried in
Roanoke because Judge Jackson L. Kiser, who presides at the Danville Federal
Courthouse, does not arbitrate capital cases as a senior judge, said Julie
Dudley, clerk at the Roanoke federal courthouse.
"Because Kiser is a senior judge, Judge Urbanski, who is the chief judge, was
assigned to those cases," Dudley said. "They're Danville cases."
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