July 11

NEVADA----impending execution

Drugmaker sues, asks court to block use of its product in Nevada execution on Wednesday

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 Dozier.

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 capital punishment.

???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 correction."

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 situation.

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 execution.

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 Wednesday execution.

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 unusual treatment."

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 pretenses.

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 said.

The twice-convicted killer in Nevada has said he prefers death to life behind bars.

"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 Press.

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 narcissistic traits.

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 attend.

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 said.

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 this."

Early years

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 school.

His teachers would tell his mother, "Scott is a great kid ... but he talks too much."

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 honorably discharged.

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, Larry, testified.

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 explosion.

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 meth.

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.

Arizona killing

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 spool.

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 him.

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, Gialketsis said.

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 meth-cooking operation.

Miller's story

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 older people."

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 underprivileged kids.

"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 financially.

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 wagon.

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 precursor ephedrine.

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 flight.

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 Dam.

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 never found.

"I ask myself every day: Where is the rest of my boy?" he said.

Jeremiah's body

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 other manner.

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 Remember."

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 the past.

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 said.

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 blame.

"'Grandpa' has a lot to lose, and is the only person never questioned," Patrick said.

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 know something?"

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?

Imposing death

Jurors ended up convicting Dozier, but his lawyers sought to spare him from a death sentence.

"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.

Giving up

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 time."

Critics say it's neither swift nor equally applied. Scott Coffee, a public defender and active death penalty case observer, likened the situation to state-assisted suicide.

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 "slick."

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 again.

"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 beyond repair.

"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 punishment.


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 method.


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 2016.

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 gruesome executions.


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 arrived.

"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 death row."

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 92 %.

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 made."


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 penalty phases.

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 citizens."

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 said.

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 punishment.


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 judicial system."

"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 issue.

"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 healing."

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 murder.

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 capital punishment".

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 treatment.

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 the execution.

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 court.

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 harm.

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 at all.

The debate is far from settled, even among people who oppose lethal injection or capital punishment.

(source: vice.com)


Death row interview: Scott Dozier says he is ready to be executed and reveals why

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 execution.

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," Dozier said.

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 it.

"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 bed.

"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 Information Center.

"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 Center.

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 secure facility."

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 all around."

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 family."

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 punishment.

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 others.

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 commit suicide.

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 background.

"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 documents.

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 Bloomington.

"It usually can be like 6 months before these things even go to trial," she said.

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 crossfire.

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 counts.

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."

(source: godanriver.com)
A service courtesy of Washburn University School of Law www.washburnlaw.edu

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