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Alabama executes Jamie Ray Mills after series of failed appeals

Despite the opportunity to review disturbing new evidence, Alabama proceeded with the execution.

Jamie Ray Mills
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The Alabama Department of Corrections carried out the lethal injection execution of convicted double-murderer Jamie Ray Mills on Thursday evening, following a series of failed appeals in the weeks leading up to his execution. The execution took place at the William C. Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Alabama, with Mills pronounced dead at 6:26 p.m.

Mills, for weeks asked state and federal courts to address “the state prosecutor’s deception and suppression of critical information, and the serious doubts now looming over his conviction,” according to Equal Justice Initiative. However, the legal system—which has become more committed to finality than fairness—responded with a judgment of “too late.” Despite the opportunity to review disturbing new evidence that warranted a new trial, Alabama proceeded with the execution, according to a report by EJI.

The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for the execution to proceed, and Governor Kay Ivey confirmed she would not exercise her clemency powers in this case. She directed Corrections Commissioner John Hamm to proceed with Mills’ lawfully imposed death sentence for the 2004 capital murders of Floyd and Vera Hill.

In a statement, Governor Ivey reflected on the case, saying, “Almost 20 years ago, the grandchildren of Floyd and Vera Hill, worried for their grandparents, filed a missing-person report only for police to discover the couple had been brutally and horrendously beaten to death. The Hills’ lives were taken at the hands of Jamie Mills. The evidence in this case is overwhelming, and Mr. Mills is undoubtedly guilty. Tonight, two decades after he committed these murders, Jamie Mills has paid the price for his heinous crimes. I pray for the victims and their loved ones as they continue to grieve.”

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall also issued a statement following the execution, expressing sympathy for the Hill family. “Tonight, Jamie Mills was executed by lethal injection after having been convicted by a jury of his peers of the heinous murder of Floyd and Vera Hill of Marion County. In 2004, Mills brutally attacked the Hills in their backyard shed and left them to die as part of a senseless robbery-murder. I extend my deepest sympathy to the Hill family as they have endured the unimaginable for nearly 20 years as they awaited justice to finally be served.”

The global landscape of capital punishment has seen significant changes in recent years. In 2023, a total of 1,153 executions were carried out worldwide, not including the thousands believed to have been executed in China. This marks an increase of more than 30 percent from 2022, according to Amnesty International, making it the highest figure recorded since 2015. Despite this increase, the number of countries that carried out executions reached the lowest figure on record with Amnesty International. The countries with the highest number of executions in 2023 were China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, and the USA.

Alabama is one of five states that carried out executions in 2023, alongside Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, and Missouri. As of 2024, 27 states in the United States still maintain the death penalty, including Alabama. Some states, however, have gubernatorial holds on executions, meaning that while the death penalty is legally available, current governors have placed moratoriums on carrying out executions. These states include California, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Arizona, Ohio, and Tennessee.

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Additionally, the federal government has a moratorium on federal executions, declared by Attorney General Merrick Garland in 2021, pending a review of the Justice Department’s policies and procedures related to capital punishment.

The Alabama Political Reporter is a daily political news site devoted to Alabama politics. We provide accurate, reliable coverage of policy, elections and government.

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