A Nevada death row inmate who repeatedly called for his own execution was found in an apparent suicide in his cell, according to the State Corrections Department.
Scott Dozier twice escaped death by lethal injection against his own volition, but on Saturday afternoon he was hung up in an air hole in his Ely State Prison cell with a bed sheet. Brooke Santina, a spokeswoman for the department, told NPR.
"He had given no indication that he committed suicide until his death," Santina said, adding that Dozier was alone at the time.
Had he expressed his desire to kill himself, she said, "The state would have no choice but to put it on suicide watch, but he said nothing."
The Marshall Project reported that the lawyers of the 48-year-old filed legal documents only in December, arguing that Dozier's mental health was deteriorating due to his prison conditions.
"In recent months, Dozier has been routinely committed suicide, and his family has said he has been deprived of his belongings and outside contact," the Journal of Criminal Justice said.
Dozier was on death row for eleven years for killing Jeremiah Miller, a doctrine of methamphetamine drug use, whose body he had beheaded and relieved in 2002 Jasen Green, whose remains in 2001 the desert of Arizona were found buried.
In October 2016, in his case, he relinquished the appeal and became a "volunteer" for the execution state of his life.
In a 2018 interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal Dozier said, "Life in prison is not life … It's not living, man, it just survives."
"If people say they're going to kill me, then do it," he urged.
Dozier's death wish pushed Nevada into a new kind of litigation in the debate over the death penalty. It forced the state to receive a new deadly cocktail, as the drugs Nevada had previously relied upon became increasingly difficult to obtain. He came to an innovative combination of midazolam, cisatracurium and fentanyl for the first time.
But in July, Alvogen, a New Jersey-based pharmaceutical company, foiled Dozier's execution after he filed an emergency lawsuit against the Corrections Department. It argued that officials unlawfully received midazolam, a tranquilizer that is part of the three-drug cocktail that Nevada planned to execute Dozier. The drug has been linked to abused executions in Arizona, Ohio, Oklahoma and Alabama.
The Judge of Clark County, Elizabeth Gonzalez, ruled in favor of the company and banned the use of the drug. The execution was suspended indefinitely.
Prior to this decision, Judge Jennifer Togliatti delayed the execution of Dozier in November 2017 after banning cisatracurium – a debilitating drug – from another scheduled lethal drug cocktail.
Although the ruling was later overturned by the Nevada Supreme Court, Togliatti agreed with an anesthesiologist "that the paralyzed drug could mask the evidence that the other two drugs – sedatives diazepam and opioid pain medication fentanyl – failed in a failed execution" Las Vegas Sun reports.
Clark Patrick, Dozier's former lawyer, told the Las Vegas Review Journal that he was surprised to learn that Dozier had apparently taken his own life. Patrick's wife had recently made plans to visit Dozier on January 14th.
"He said he was looking forward to our visit," Patrick told the newspaper.
] The director of the Death Penalty Information Center, Robert Dunham, told NPR it was unclear what to do next in the litigation over the use of Drugs for executions happen.
"One of the questions that complicates this is that the former Attorney General's office has not yet decided whether to appeal," Dunham said.
Former Republican Attorney General Adam Laxalt lost his re-election bid and was replaced on Monday by Democrat Aaron Ford.
Ford is against the death penalty. His office did not respond to NPR's questions regarding the future of the lawsuit.
"The other possibility is that Nevada can dismiss the appeal by saying that it is controversial because Scott Dozier has died and they do not intend to use the drugs to execute other people," Dunham added added.
Another scenario, according to Dunham, is that one or all of the drugs contained in the deadly cocktail that were received more than a year ago may have expired.
"And that means that if there is an execution, the state needs to start the process of finding new drugs again," Dunham said.