Nevada inmate wants his death sentence, painful or not
The convicted Nevada inmate slated to die by a three-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.
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"I've been very clear about my desire to be executed … even if suffering is inevitable," Scott Raymond Dozier said in a handwritten note to a state court judge who postponed his execution last November over concerns that the untried drug regimen could leave him suffocating, conscious and unable to move a muscle.
Dozier, a twice-convicted killer who attempted suicide in the past, repeated his desire to die during a brief telephone interview Sunday with the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
"Life in prison isn't a life," the 47-year-old inmate told the newspaper . "It's just surviving."
His execution is scheduled Wednesday.
Dozier, the 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 physical exercise a person can do in prison, Dozier said in court hearings and letters to the Las Vegas judge who postponed his execution. Clark County District Court Judge Jennifer Togliatti once observed that Dozier's fitness regimen might make him the fittest death-row inmate on the planet.
Togliatti presided over the 2007 trial in Nevada in which a 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 the shooting and mauling of 26-year-old Jasen Greene, whose body was found in 2002 in a shallow grave outside Phoenix. A witness there 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 methamphetamine, 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. Dozier also used names including Chad Wyatt.
Miller had come to Nevada from Phoenix 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.
Family members of Dozier's victims are not expected at his 8 p.m. execution at Ely State Prison, 250 miles (400 kilometers) north of Las Vegas, Nevada prisons spokeswoman Brooke Santina said. Several Dozier family members are expected to attend.
Dozier suspended any appeals of his conviction and sentence, making him one of about 10 percent of inmates who have given up appeals and volunteered to die nationwide since 1977. Critics say he is seeking state-assisted suicide.
He could invoke it at any time up to the last moment he is conscious, but his lawyer, Thomas Ericsson, said he knows of no such plan. Dozier has not responded to messages through his lawyers to speak with The Associated Press.
Dozier did, however, let federal public defenders review and challenge the execution protocol drawn up last year by state medical and prison officials for Nevada's first lethal injection since 2006. They argued the untried three-drug combination would be less humane than putting down a pet.
Togliatti 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.
Midazolam maker Alvogen said this week it was considering legal action to prevent what it called "improper use" of its product in the execution. Pfizer protested last year, but Nevada refused the pharmaceutical company's demand to return the diazepam and fentanyl it manufactured.
The state high court in May decided on procedural grounds that the execution could go forward, but did not review the three-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," said Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington, D.C.
The execution plan for Dozier was revised last month to substitute midazolam for expired prison stocks of diazepam, a sedative commonly known as Valium that the state previously slated as the first drug in the lethal injection protocol.
The sedative is expected to render Dozier unconscious before he is injected with the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl, which has been blamed for overdoses nationwide but has not been used in an execution. That will be followed by the muscle paralyzing drug cisatracurium.
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 more than a decade ago, when Daryl Linnie Mack asked to be put to death for his conviction in a 1988 rape and murder in Reno.
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