Alabama inmate executed minutes after Supreme Court declines to intervene

Alabama inmate executed minutes after Supreme Court declines to intervene

Photo courtesy of Florida Department of Corrections

WASHINGTON – An Alabama inmate convicted of killing a minister outside his home nearly 30 years ago was executed on Thursday evening after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to issue a stay.

Christopher Lee Price, 46, was given a lethal injection at William C. Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore. He was pronounced dead at 7:31 p.m. CDT, according to a prison spokesperson. The execution is the state’s second in two weeks.

When asked for any final words just before the execution began, Price said, “A man is much more than his worst mistake.”

Christopher Lee Price (Alabama Department of Corrections)

In 1991, Price was convicted of the murder of Fayette County Church of Christ minister Bill Lynn. The murder took place during a robbery and is alleged to have involved the use of both a knife and a sword. Price was 19 at the time.

Price admitted robbing the minister but said an accomplice killed Lynn. Kelvin Coleman pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to life in prison. A jury convicted Price of murder and a judge sentenced him to death.

The execution, which had been scheduled for 6 p.m. ECT, was delayed for more than an hour as prison officials awaited the Supreme Court’s decision, a prison spokesperson said. The justices voted 5-4 to deny a stay of the execution. The justices who dissented were Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor.

Breyer wrote in a dissent that the execution should have been delayed because a trial was scheduled for June 10 in which a federal judge in Mobile would consider Price’s challenge to the state’s lethal injection process.

Thursday’s decision marked the second time the Supreme Court has ruled on Price’s case. In April the justices ruled that Price’s execution could go forward, hours after his death warrant had expired.

Gov. Kay Ivey (R) announced the execution in a statement Thursday night.

“After careful consideration of the horrendous nature of the crime, the jury’s decision and all factors surrounding the case, the state of Alabama carried out Mr. Price’s sentence this evening. Finally, the loved ones of Pastor Lynn can feel at ease knowing that justice has been administered. I pray that, after all these years later, his family can feel a sense of peace and comfort.”

Michael Brandon Samra, 42, was executed by lethal injection in the same prison on May 16 for a 1997 quadruple slaying near Birmingham. Samra and accomplice Mark Duke were convicted of killing Duke’s father, his father’s girlfriend and the girlfriend’s two young daughters. Like Price, Samra was 19 at the time. Duke, who was 16, also was sentenced to death but in 2005 his sentence was changed to life in prison because of his age at the time of the murders.

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