Alabama’s last execution may have burned a man alive because the “consciousness assessment” it administers is about as scientific as someone jostling you when you nod off on the sofa.
This is clear from the firsthand account of Ms. Terry Deep, a federal investigator who witnessed the execution of Christopher Brooks at Holman Prison in Atmore, Alabama on January 21, 2016.
Ms. Deep signed a sworn affidavit attached as an exhibit to an April 15, 2016 court filing in the case of Ronald Bert Smith detailing these observations; Mr. Smith is scheduled for execution in Alabama on December 8, 2016, and his federal defenders also represented Christopher Brooks.
Ms. Deep’s account goes like this:
“After the Warden called for order and read the execution warrant, Mr. Brooks made his final statement. Warden Davenport then left the execution chamber, leaving [a correctional officer, identified only as D.F.] and the prison chaplain in the execution chamber. The chaplain walked over to Mr. Brooks, held his hand, and stepped away. Mr. Brooks’ breathing became rapid and shallow. D.F. called out Mr. Brooks’ name, raised his eyelids and reached behind Mr. Brooks’ left arm momentarily. Mr. Brooks’ eyes were closed at the end of this activity. D.F. stepped away from Mr. Brooks. Mr. Brooks’ breathing further slowed. Before the curtains were closed, Mr. Brooks’ left eye opened, and was still open when the execution chamber curtains…