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Death row inmate dies by apparent suicide

Scott Dozier, a death row inmate in Nevada, was found dead in his cell of an apparent suicide, state department of corrections officials said.

Posted: Jan 7, 2019 8:44 AM
Updated: Jan 7, 2019 8:56 AM

Scott Dozier, a death row inmate in Nevada, was found dead in his cell Saturday of an apparent suicide, state department of corrections officials said.

Dozier, 48, was hanging from a bed sheet tied to an air vent in his cell at Ely State Prison, the department said in a news release.

He was pronounced dead at 4:35 p.m. PT.

Dozier was to have been executed in July 2018 with a never-before-used combination of drugs, but a judge's ruling regarding one of the drugs put that on hold.

Dozier was convicted of first-degree murder in the death of Jeremiah Miller, who was killed and dismembered in 2002. The victim's torso was found in a suitcase dumped in a trash bin in Las Vegas, according to the Nevada Department of Corrections.

Dozier was also convicted of murder in the death of another victim found buried in the Arizona desert.

Dozier's attorney, Thomas Ericsson, said in July that his client wanted to be executed. But his excution was delayed twice -- once in November 2017 and again in July 2018 -- because of the combination of midazolam, Fentanyl and cisatracurium that Nevada planned to use to execute him.

Legal concerns were raised over whether the drug cocktail would torture Dozier in his final moments. Death penalty critics have long argued that midazolam is not a pain killing anesthetic and would allow the condemned to feel tortuous pain from the following drugs.

Midazolam's maufacturer went to court to stop its product from being used in an execution. A district judge granted the company a temporary restraining order, saying the company would have suffered "irreparable damages."

Fentanyl, the drug that was deemed the deadliest drug in America by the CDC last month was not the main cause of controversy.

The third drug in the combination was the main subject of legal contention in 2017. Cisatracurium is a muscle relaxant, and a district court judge ruled that the state could not use it because the drug could hide signs of pain.

"Allowing the government to execute a person using a protocol that risks torture would be a grave injustice," the American Civil Liberties Union argued in July.

Dozier did not make legal challenges to halt his execution. "Life in prison isn't a life," he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "This isn't living, man. It's just surviving."

"If people say they're going to kill me, get to it," he told the newspaper.

CNN reached out to Dozier's attorney, but has not heard back.

Nevada hasn't executed a prisoner since April 2006, when Daryl Mack died by injection.

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