Avoiding the Death Penalty

The judge's decision to hear Willie McNair’s case allows the inmate another opportunity to avoid the death penalty.

McNair killed Ella Foy Riley back in May of 1990. It took several trials to convict him of murder and he was sentenced to die.

In Alabama, there are two choices for the method of death: the electric chair and lethal injection.

McNair said no to the electric chair and now, he is trying to avoid lethal injection as well.

Alabama District Attorney Doug Valeska said, “Hopefully, we'll have a quick trial [and the] jury will rule in the state's favor and say that it's not cruel or unjust punishment to put someone to death by lethal injection.”

However, the final ruling may come from the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court plans to hear several cases from other states on the constitutionality of lethal injection and is expected to make a ruling in the spring.

Valeska added, “So, the United States Supreme Court in my opinion as a district attorney is going to give us an answer in this spring term. This federal judge, once again I respect him, has granted a motion to have a trial, but the final say so will come from the U.S. Supreme Court.”

The U.S. Attorney General has filed to set an execution date for McNair, but it has not yet been set.

McNair was originally sentenced to death back in February of 2003.

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