Due to Be Executed After Botched Lethal Injections, He's Concerned

James Barber says he feels 'trepidation,' but not fear, over what's to come
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 19, 2023 12:30 AM CDT
Inmate Due to Be Executed After Botched Lethal Injections Speaks
James Barber   (Alabama Deptartment of Corrections)

James Barber is set to be put to death in Alabama Thursday night unless an appeals court intervenes, and he will be the first prisoner the state executes since a series of botched lethal injection and lethal injection attempts led to a temporary halt in executions that started in November. In an interview with NBC News, Barber, who murdered Dorothy Epps in 2001, says that while he turned his life over to God after his conviction and sentencing and feels he's in God's hands, he's still feeling unsettled ahead of the looming date. "I have a fair amount of trepidation about the process that they obviously haven't perfected—to be at their hands and be the first one after they didn't do a true review of the protocol and made no real changes."

Following the "lengthy, painful" execution of Joe Nathan James Jr. in July 2022 after three hours spent trying to find a vein, Alabama failed to complete two executions: Alan Eugene Miller in September 2022 and Kenneth Eugene Smith in November 2022. Both of those cases also involved struggles to find a vein, according to Elizabeth Bruenig, who has been documenting Alabama's execution issues for the Atlantic. Following those three incidents, Gov. Kay Ivey had promised a "top to bottom" review of execution protocols, but Barber isn't convinced anything will be different this time around. His lawyers have asked an appeals court to step in, but it isn't clear when they might issue a decision. See the full interview at NBC. (More Alabama stories.)

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