Alabama negotiating potential settlement with Alan Miller, who survived execution attempt

Alabama has asked the state's Supreme Court not to set a new execution date for Alan Eugene Miller as the two parties discuss a potential settlement agreement. Miller survived the state's first execution attempt on Sept. 22 and could be the first in U.S. history to face a second attempted execution by lethal injection.

The Alabama Attorney General’s Office asked the Alabama Supreme Court on Monday to suspend its pending motion for a new execution date for Miller, who has argued in federal court that attempting to execute him by lethal injection would be unconstitutional.

“The requested abeyance is sought to maintain the status quo while the parties discuss a potential settlement agreement of that federal litigation,” the AG’s office wrote.

The AG's office asked that the motion be suspended for no longer than 60 days as the state and Miller discuss a resolution of Miller's lawsuit.

The AG’s office made the offer to Miller on Friday. When it informed the federal court of its filing with the Alabama Supreme Court on Monday, Assistant Attorney General James Houts referenced a “tender of a settlement agreement to Plaintiff on November 11, 2022.”

Alan Eugene Miller, sentenced for murder July 31, 2000
Alan Eugene Miller, sentenced for murder July 31, 2000

No details of the offer have been released, and Miller’s attorneys and the AG’s office have not responded to phone calls and emails sent Monday.

Miller is not the first person to walk away from a lethal injection in Alabama. The state reached a confidential agreement with Doyle Lee Hamm after his failed execution in 2018, during which the execution team poked him at least 11 times in his legs and groin, failing to establish intravenous access. Alabama never tried to execute him again, and Hamm died of cancer on death row in 2021.

Doyle Lee Hamm, sentenced for murder on Dec. 1, 1987
Doyle Lee Hamm, sentenced for murder on Dec. 1, 1987

Miller initially sued the state in August over its plans to execute him by lethal injection, arguing that he chose to die by nitrogen hypoxia, a still untested method of execution, during the statutory 30-day window in 2018. Miller accused state officials of losing the form he used to make his choice in writing, as was required by law when nitrogen hypoxia was approved as an alternative execution method in 2018.

State officials denied that Miller ever made that election, but it admitted in recent court filings that “ADOC did not ‘record’ each inmate’s receipt of an election form at Holman Correctional Facility.”

U.S. District Judge R. Austin Huffaker, Jr. found it likely that Miller had timely elected nitrogen hypoxia and issued a preliminary injunction against his execution by any other means. Alabama appealed the case to the U.S. 11th Circuit Court, which upheld the stay. The state, on the day of the scheduled execution, then appealed to the Supreme Court, which overturned the stay shortly after 9 p.m.

Members of the execution team moved Miller from his holding cell to the death chamber at Holman Correctional Facility at about 9:55 p.m. He was strapped to the gurney at roughly 10:15 p.m., and two men in scrubs tried to establish IV access in Miller’s arms, hands and right foot for more than an hour, based on Miller’s recollection of the night. Sometime before midnight, the state gave up, conceding that even if IV access were established, it wouldn’t be able to carry out Miller’s execution by the time the death warrant expired.

Miller was sentenced to death for the killing of three men in two workplace shootings in Shelby County in 1999. Prosecutors said an employee entering Ferguson Enterprises in Pelham saw Miller exit the building on Aug. 5, 1999, before finding Lee Holdbrooks and Scott Yancy dead inside. At another former employer site, Miller killed Terry Jarvis.

Evan Mealins is the justice reporter for the Montgomery Advertiser. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter @EvanMealins.

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This article originally appeared on Montgomery Advertiser: Alabama talks potential settlement with death row inmate Alan Miller