Home / US / Christopher Lee Award: Alabama executes a man for killing Pastor with a sword and a knife just before Christmas

Christopher Lee Award: Alabama executes a man for killing Pastor with a sword and a knife just before Christmas

A man convicted of murdering a country preacher during a 1991 robbery was killed in a deadly injection Thursday in Alabama. He avoided another execution date in April due to disagreements between the judges of the US Supreme Court.

Christopher Lee Price, 46, became the second inmate to be killed in Alabama in two weeks. The execution was carried out in Holman Prison, where he was pronounced dead at 19:31.

An apology statement was issued by his attorney before the execution of Bill Lynn, a pastor from northern Alabama, who was killed with a sword and knife a few days before Christmas.

"A man is much more than his worst mistake," he said, tethering himself to a stretcher just before the flow of drugs.

  Death Penalty in Alabama
This undated photo, provided by the Alabama Corrections Department, shows Christopher Lee Price. The Supreme Court of Alabama has set an execution date for April 11, 2019, for Price, who was convicted of killing minister Bill Lynn in 1991.

Department of corrections in Alabama via AP

Gov. Kay Ivey issued a statement that Price must be punished.

"After all, Pastor Lynn's relatives can feel at ease knowing that justice has been used, and I pray that after all these years, his family will feel a sense of peace and comfort," she said.

Relatives of Price and Lynn were among the witnesses when the inmate was killed shortly after the US Supreme Court rejected a final residency request. The execution had been delayed by more than an hour when the state awaited the court's decision, a prison official said.

Price raised and lowered his head twice, after the first knockout drug began to flow, and his belly lifted five times. He did not answer when an officer checked his eyelashes and an arm for consciousness.

Soon, the color began to flow from his face as additional medication flowed through an intravenous line and the process was over within minutes.

A statement from Lynn's family thanked friends and relatives for their support during a "long and difficult journey".

"We pray to finally have peace," the prison officials said.

Price sought a stay based on questioning the state's method of using three drugs during lethal injections. The nation's Supreme Court denied it by 5-4 votes to stop the Thursday night's execution. The conservative majority gave no reason to refuse the stay.

Price had asked to die instead of nitrogen hypoxia, a method of execution that Alabama has legally approved but not developed. His lawyers argued that the method of death from oxygen deprivation is less painful than the lethal injection.

Price sued Alabama's execution practices, and the inmates' lawyers claim the state was in a hurry two weeks before the trial date to execute him. Prosecutors argued that Price raised last minute resolute issues just to seek a delay.

The inmate was to be executed last month, but the state death sentence expired at midnight before a split US Supreme Court overturned a stay blocking the lethal injection. The court then published documents proving that it had argued internally about the death penalty.

The Alabama Supreme Court then set a new execution date, although US District Judge Kristi DuBose of Mobile had scheduled a trial scheduled for June 10 to hear Price's claim to Alabama following the lethal injection procedure.

In a diverging Thursday, Judge Stephen Breyer wrote that the court should postpone the execution until the trial could take place.

Court documents show that Lynn, a minister of the Church of Christ in rural Fayette County, was home with his wife Bessie on December 22, 1991, to assemble toys for grandchildren when the power failed. He went outside to check the electrical box, and the woman looked outside after hearing a noise when she saw a black-clad man holding a sword over her husband.

The woman ran outside and found Lynn severely wounded. She saw two men as she tried to launch a van to escape. She was beaten and deprived of her money and her wedding rings, although she was allowed to keep the jewelry, as court documents show. According to an autopsy, Lynn was cut or stabbed more than 30 times.

Price was arrested a few days later in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He admitted to having participated in the robbery, but blamed another man for the actual murder.

Kelvin pleaded guilty to the murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment while the jury sentenced Price of the Capital Murder and a judge sentenced him to death.

Earlier this month, Michael Brandon Samra was killed by a lethal injection in a fourfold murder near Birmingham for his death sentence. His lawyers have made no complaints following the execution.

Alabama executed another inmate this year in February.

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