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  1. #1

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    Thomas Douglas Arthur - Alabama Death Row



    Summary of Offense:

    Arthur was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death for shooting Troy Wicker of Muscle Shoals through the right eye as he slept. The victim's wife, Judy Wicker, was romantically involved with Arthur and testified she paid him $10,000 to kill her husband in 1981. At the time of the killing, Arthur was in a prison work-release center in Decatur, serving a sentence for second-degree murder for killing his sister-in-law in Marion County.

    Arthur was sentenced to death on March 22, 1983.

  2. #2

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    June 25, 2007

    Alabama court sets execution date in Muscle Shoals killing

    The Alabama Supreme Court on Friday set a Sept. 27 execution date for Thomas Douglas Arthur, who was convicted of the murder-for-hire slaying of his girlfriend's husband in northwest Alabama.

    This is Arthur's 2nd execution date. He was originally scheduled to die in April 2001, but received a delay from a federal judge so he could pursue another appeal. That appeal was recently turned down by the U.S. Supreme Court.

    The state attorney general's office then asked the state Supreme Court to set a new execution date, which it did Friday.

    Arthur, 65, was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death for shooting Troy Wicker of Muscle Shoals through the right eye as he slept. The victim's wife, Judy Wicker, was romantically involved with Arthur and testified she paid him $10,000 to kill her husband in 1981.

    At the time of the killing, Arthur was in a prison work-release center in Decatur, serving a sentence for 2nd-degree murder for killing his sister-in-law in Marion County.

    Arthur, who always maintained his innocence, was convicted of Wicker's murder and sentenced to death 3 times. Appeals courts overturned his 1st 2 convictions.

    Assistant Attorney General Clay Crenshaw said Arthur has filed a separate federal court suit that challenges Alabama's use of legal injection for executions, and he could argue that his suit should result in another delay.

    (Source: AP)

  3. #3

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    September 23, 2007

    Arthur's stay of execution denied

    A 3-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday denied a stay of execution for convicted murderer Tommy Douglas Arthur.

    Arthur, 65, was convicted for the 1982 contract killing of Troy Wicker, of Muscle Shoals. Arthur, who has said he is innocent of the crime, is scheduled to die by lethal injection at Holman Prison near Atmore on Thursday. Arthur has been on death row for 25 years.

    "Notwithstanding what the courts have held, in a civilized society, how can we allow a man to be executed without even allowing DNA testing that could prove his innocence?" said Suhana Han, Arthur's attorney.

    Han said the state ought to wait for the outcome of a federal lawsuit scheduled to go to trial in October that challenges Alabama's lethal injection method of execution as cruel and unusual punishment.

    Han said although the state of Alabama insists that DNA testing doesn't bear on Arthur's culpability, "We disagree, and we're willing to pay for DNA testing."

    "Reliable science can resolve this dispute, but the state of Alabama is afraid of the truth," she said. "The truth is the truth - no matter how many years later it emerges."

    Clay Crenshaw, head of the attorney general's capital litigation section, said if Arthur had wanted DNA testing, he should have requested it years ago. "We think it's the correct ruling," he said of the judges' decision.

    Crenshaw said Arthur's attorney was informed in oral arguments in 2004 that she could request DNA testing but that she waited only a few months before his scheduled execution date to request it.

    The 3 appellate judges said a lower federal district court did not abuse its discretion in dismissing Arthur's request to allow DNA testing that was not available in the 1980s.

    "There was no justification for Arthur's failure to bring his request for physical evidence for DNA testing earlier to allow sufficient time for full adjudication of the merits of this claim," the judges said.

    On Monday, the same panel of judges in a 2-1 vote declined to halt Arthur's scheduled execution based on his challenge of the constitutionality of lethal injection, saying he waited too long, "especially given the strong presumption against the grant of equitable relief."

    The judges said Friday that the lower court also did not abuse its discretion in denying Arthur's motion to alter or amend the death penalty based on newly discovered evidence.

    Since the lower court judge was upheld, Arthur's motion for a stay of execution pending appeal was denied as moot, the judges said in a 19-page opinion.

    Troy Wicker's widow, Judy Wicker, who Arthur had known since they were both young, testified that she hired Arthur to kill her husband. Wicker, who is now 60 years old, has served time for that crime.

  4. #4

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    September 27, 2007

    Alabama’s Governor Bob Riley has granted a stay of execution for 45 days for Tommy Arthur, who was scheduled to die Thursday evening for a 1982 contract murder. “The decision to grant a brief stay is being made only because the state is changing its lethal injection protocol, and this will allow sufficient time for the Department of Corrections to make that change,” Riley said. “I have encouraged the Attorney General to make a motion with the Alabama Supreme Court for a new date of execution as soon as possible.”
    For clarification the stay has nothing to do with DNA testing which is still being denied.

    (Source: Birmingham News)

  5. #5

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    November 27, 2007

    High court nixes Ala. death row case

    The Supreme Court on Monday refused to allow a death row inmate to try to prove his innocence through DNA testing.

    Thomas Arthur, 65, was sentenced for the 1982 killing of Troy Wicker of Muscle Shoals, Ala. His execution has been set for Dec 6, but is expected to be delayed because of a pending Supreme Court case involving lethal injections.

    The victim's wife, Judy Wicker, testified at Arthur's trial that she had sex with him and paid him $10,000 to kill her husband, who was shot in the face as he lay in bed. Earlier at her own trial, Wicker testified that a man burglarizing her home raped her, knocked her unconscious and then shot her husband.

    In April, Arthur's lawyers sued the state claiming that the inmate was being deprived of his rights and was entitled to DNA testing of critical pieces of physical evidence, including a rape kit, bloodstained clothing and hairs aimed at showing that someone other than Arthur committed the murder.

    The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta affirmed a federal judge's dismissal of Arthur's lawsuit, citing the authority of federal courts to dismiss such claims that are speculative or are filed too late in proceedings.

    Arthur filed his claim 5 days before the state of Alabama moved to set an execution date.

    The case is Arthur v. King, 07-397.

    (Source: Birmingham News)

  6. #6

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    November 30, 2007


    Alabama asks Supreme Court to deny stay of execution----State to Supreme Court: Deny Thomas Arthur stay of execution

    The Alabama attorney general's office on Thursday urged the U.S. Supreme Court to deny a stay of execution for convicted murderer Thomas Arthur, who faces lethal injection next week.

    Arthur has waited too late to challenge Alabama's method of execution and the high court should not block his execution scheduled for next Thursday, Assistant Attorney General Clay Crenshaw said in a court filing.

    Crenshaw responded to a petition for a stay filed earlier this week by New York attorney Suhana S. Han, who represents Arthur. She asked the high court to block the execution while the court considers constitutional issues in a Kentucky lethal injection case.

    Those issues include "the proper standard for determining whether a method of execution violates the Eighth Amendment" protection against cruel and unusual punishment.

    A ruling in the Kentucky case isn't expected until next year. In the meantime, many lethal injection cases, including Arthur's, remain in limbo.

    Arthur, 65, was sentenced to death for the 1982 killing of Troy Wicker, 35, of Muscle Shoals.

    Arthur came within hours of execution at Holman prison on Sept. 27, when Gov. Bob Riley granted a 45-day reprieve so the state could make minor changes in its execution procedure. Riley acted after the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the Kentucky challenge to lethal injection.

    In his filing Thursday, Crenshaw said Arthur could have challenged the method of execution when the state of Alabama in 2002 adopted use of lethal injection. He also argued that Arthur hasn't met any of the court's requirements for a stay.

    Crenshaw said the state filed its motion for Arthur's execution date at the appropriate time.

    "It was Arthur who failed to bring his civil rights lawsuit at a time that would have allowed full consideration of his claims," Crenshaw wrote in his filing.

    Citing a ruling in a separate death penalty case, he reminded the high court that federal courts considering a stay request must be "sensitive of the state's strong interest in enforcing its criminal judgments without undue interference from the federal courts."

    He also said granting a stay of execution is not necessary before the high court decides whether to even hear Arthur's appeal. That decision may not come until next week. Depending on the court's ruling, a stay request apparently could then be considered.

    Crenshaw said Arthur also hasn't shown the court that he's likely to succeed with his appeal - another requirement for granting a stay.

    Noting the Kentucky case, Arthur's attorneys allege there is "a grave and substantial risk" that Arthur will be "conscious of suffocation" during the execution and will suffer "excruciating pain."

    In earlier court filings, Crenshaw said Arthur has not produced evidence of any execution mishap in an Alabama lethal injection execution or any "cruel or unusual pain" suffered by an inmate during a lethal injection.

    Arthur has been on death row about 16 years after being convicted for capital murder and sentenced to death in 1992 at his 3rd trial. His first 2 convictions and death sentences in the Wicker murder were overturned on appeal.

  7. #7

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    December 4, 2007

    No action by justices on case involving Alabama death row inmate

    The Supreme Court took no action Monday on whether Alabama death row inmate Thomas D. Arthur waited too long before challenging the form of lethal injection intended to carry out his execution.

    The court had indicated it would announce Monday if it would hear the issue or not, but it was not on the list of decisions released.

    Lower courts said that Arthur, convicted in a 1982 murder-for-hire case, unreasonably delayed filing his challenge to the way lethal injection is carried out in Alabama by waiting until just four months before his scheduled execution.

    Arthur's execution is set for Thursday. He separately has a request for a stay pending before the Supreme Court.

    The issue of time limits is a side issue to a larger debate before the Supreme Court over whether the three-drug form of lethal injection used in many states is so painful that it violates the constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

    A federal judge ruled that Arthur knew no later than August 2006 of the issue over pain in lethal injection.

    Arthur filed his challenge last May, the month after Alabama officials asked the state Supreme Court to set his execution date.

    Arthur was convicted in the 1982 killing of Troy Wicker, based on the testimony of the victim's wife. She testified that she had sex with Arthur and paid him $10,000 to kill her husband, who was shot in the face as he lay in bed.

    At the time of his arrest, Arthur was serving a sentence at a prison work release center for an earlier murder.

    Arthur's pro bono attorney, Suhana Han of New York, said a recent decision by the state of Alabama to change the lethal injection protocol amounted to the state conceding its execution procedure was deficient.

    The case is Arthur v. Allen, 07-395.

    (Source: Birmingham News)

  8. #8

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    December 5, 2007

    Court delays another execution

    The Supreme Court on Wednesday afternoon delayed the execution of Thomas D. Arthur, previously scheduled for 6 p.m. on Thursday. Arthur has a petition pending (Arthur v. Allen, 07-395) challenging the state’s use of a lethal injection protocol to carry out executions. The Court has not acted on the petition. Its order on Wednesday stayed the execution until it acts on the petition, or, if the petition is granted, until the case is decided. Besides raising a constitutional challenge to the lethal injection method, Arthur’s appeal raises another issue the Court has yet to decide: when a constitutional challenge to this method of execution is considered timely filed, when the issue is raised under federal civil rights law, rather than federal habeas law.

    The Court in recent weeks has not permitted any execution to proceed when the inmate has sought a stay while challenging lethal injection. It is scheduled to hold a hearing on such challenges on Jan. 7 at 10 a.m.

    (source: US Supreme Court Blog)

  9. #9

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    June 30, 2008

    The Alabama Supreme Court has set an execution date of July 31 for Thomas Arthur.

    He was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to die for the 1982 killing of Troy Wicker of Muscle Shoals.

    He came within a day of execution last December before receiving a stay from the U.S. Supreme Court. Arthur was challenging Alabama's method of lethal injection at the time. The high court later upheld lethal injection in a Kentucky case.

    http://www.cbs42.com/news/local/22723749.html

  10. #10

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    July 1, 2008


    Arthur execution rescheduled

    The state of Alabama has, for the 3rd time, scheduled the execution of convicted killer Thomas D. Arthur. Convicted for the 1982 murder-for-hire killing of Troy Wicker Jr. of Muscle Shoals, Arthur is scheduled to die by lethal injection July 31, the state Supreme Court said Monday. Arthur has twice come within a day of being executed only to be granted stays.

    On Sept. 27, Gov. Bob Riley issued a stay just hours before Arthur's scheduled execution so the state could add a step to its lethal injection procedure. Alabama added the step, in which a guard pinches the condemned inmate's arm to determine whether he is unconscious, after the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would consider a challenge to Kentucky's lethal injection procedure. Kentucky's procedure was identical to Alabama's before Alabama added the new step, according to court documents.

    On Dec. 5, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked Arthur's rescheduled execution a day before it was to be carried out, pending a decision in the Kentucky case. The court decided that case in April, ruling that lethal injection does not amount to cruel and unusual punishment.

    (source: Birmingham News)

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