Alabama executes man for 1982 murder-for-hire

Henrietta Brewer
May 26, 2017

"For many years, Thomas Arthur has abused the judicial process by heaving frivolous and baseless claims on the courts at the last minute in an effort to delay his lawful execution for a heinous crime he committed in 1982", Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall recently wrote in March after one of Arthur's appeals to block another execution date from being set.

Wicker's two sons are expected to witness the execution.

Arthur maintains his innocence. However, the reversal does not halt Arthur's execution tonight.

She said she paid him $US10,000. "At times, I was convinced he did. He has used every trick possible to manipulate the public into believing he is innocent".

"He looked at Sherrie and waved, gave another deep breath, mouthed 'I love you, ' and Sherrie waved back".

Arthur had previously said he would not ask Gov. Kay Ivey for clemency because, in his view, it's tantamount to an admission of guilt.

Lawyers for Tommy Arthur sought testing for hair samples that were collected during the investigation.

Arthur was convicted of capital murder in 1983.

The case began February 1, 1982, when police responded to a call about a break-in and found riverboat engineer Troy Wicker slain in his bed in the north Alabama city of Muscle Shoals.

Mr Wicker's wife, Judy, initially told police she came home and was raped by a black man who shot and killed her husband.

Arthur was a work release prisoner at that time.

Arthur had three trials, as his first two convictions were overturned.

On Jan. 27, 1986, while awaiting retrial, Arthur escaped from the Colbert County jail by shooting a jailer in the neck with a.25 caliber pistol and forcing another jailer to open his cell.

Ivey's lawyer said jurors knew the hairs, due to their type, did not come from Arthur but convicted him anyway.

"No governor covets the responsibility of weighing the merits of life or death; but it is a burden I accept as part of my pledge to uphold the laws of this state", Ivey said in a statement.

Tommy Arthur, 75, was pronounced dead at 12:15 a.m. CDT Friday following a lethal injection administered at a southwest Alabama prison, authorities said.

Before he was sentenced, Arthur asked jurors to recommend the death penalty. Stone said her father was hampered in the early days of his case by inadequate legal counsel as he missed key filing deadlines.

Seventy-five-year-old Tommy Arthur is scheduled to be put to death Thursday for the 1982 murder-for-hire of Troy Wicker.

Among those executions cited in their current appeal is the December 8 execution of Alabama Death Row inmate Ronald Bert Smith, Smith heaved and appeared to be gasping for breath for about 13 minutes after being injected with midazolam.

Janette Grantham, executive director of the Victims of Crime and Leniency, an Alabama victim rights organization, said Arthur and his attorneys had no new evidence and were just stalling.

"How to proceed when faced with a potential execution is one of the most hard decisions I will ever have to make as governor".

His case has angered both opponents and supporters of the death sentence: the former see his endless run-ins with execution as a form of psychological torture, while those who support the sentence see Arthur and his legal team as constantly playing the system to cheat justice. They argued the state planned to use an ineffective sedative, midazolam, and said the last inmate executed in Alabama was "awake" through the procedure because he coughed for the first 13 minutes of his execution and moved slightly after two consciousness tests.

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