'Houdini' of Alabama death row executed for murder-for-hire


Earlier, Arthur's attorneys had asked the U.S. Supreme Court to halt the execution.

In February, the court declined to hear Arthur's appeal, which focused on Alabama's use of the sedative midazolam. They say he requested a photo of his family to be in the execution room, which will be granted.

Seventy-five-year-old Tommy Arthur is scheduled to be put to death Thursday for the 1982 murder-for-hire of Troy Wicker.

Tommy Arthur was pronounced dead at 12:15 a.m. CDT Friday after receiving an injection at the state prison in Atmore, authorities said.

Arthur was convicted in the fatal shooting of another man, Troy Wicker, in a 1982 murder-for-hire scheme. While maintaining his innocence, he has made use of creative legal maneuvers to stave off execution with rights advocates sarcastically dubbing him the "Houdini" of death row.

Tommy Arthur has gained another victory in court.

"Am I afraid?" Arthur told the New York Times. Grantham said one of Wicker's sisters died not long after Arthur's previous execution date was stayed and that she believed Arthur, in a way, "killed" her too. They pointed to issues with the state's last lethal injection and say the state will give Arthur an ineffective anesthetic before giving him drugs to stop his lungs and heart.

"Mr. Arthur was rightfully convicted and sentenced, and tonight, that sentence was rightfully and justly carried out", Ivey said in a statement.

Arthur was in a prison work-release programme at the time for the 1977 killing of his sister-in-law, a crime he admits to committing. The state contends there is no evidence that inmate Ronald Bert Smith experienced pain during that execution.

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The date for Arthur's execution was set for the first time in 2007, then again once in the same year, after 2008, 2012, 2015 and 2016.

Arthur's lawyers filed a flurry of last-minute appeals in a bid to halt the execution, but the U.S. Supreme Court opened the way for the execution to proceed shortly before 11 p.m. Thursday. Under the indictment the woman had promised Arthur to give him $ 10,000 to kill her husband.

"While Arthur cherry-picks a few of these executions to seize on exaggerated accounts of movement or labored breathing, he wholly ignores the overwhelmingly majority of these executions, which by all accounts were unremarkable and proceeded smoothly", the state said in court filings this week. She later changed her story and testified that she had discussed killing her husband with Arthur, who came to the house wearing an Afro-style wig and with his face painted with makeup, and shot her husband.

His attorneys filed court papers Wednesday with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Arthur's legal team has challenged lethal injection procedures.

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

Testing on a wig allegedly worn by the killer for a 2009 court hearing found no genetic material that could be tested for DNA.

Arthur had entered a romantic relationship with Judy Wicker, Troy Wicker's wife, the Birmingham News reported.