Nevada Death Row inmate Scott Dozier’s execution is set for 8 p.m. on July 11, 2018.
While 31 states in the U.S. still have the death penalty, it’s become increasingly harder to execute inmates as more and more pharmaceutical companies will no longer sell their drugs to prisons planning to use them for executions.
There have been 11 executions in the United States so far in 2018, most carried out with a 1-drug Pentobarbital protocol. If it takes place, Dozier’s execution will make history as Nevada will controversially become the first state to execute an inmate using fentanyl.
Dozier is currently on Death Row at Ely State Prison in Nevada and actually asked to be executed in 2017. “I don’t want to die,” he told The Marshall Project. “I just would rather be dead than do this,” he said about sitting around in prison.
Though Dozier is reported to have had a “privileged” upbringing, he told The Marshall Project that he “liked the idea of living outside the law,” and in his 20s began making and selling meth. The lifestyle eventually caught up with him and landed him on Death Row.
Find out more about who is Scott Dozier and why his execution is making waves.
1. He’s been convicted of two murders
According to Time, a judge sentenced Dozier to 22 years in prison for the murder of Jason Greene, who had been attacked with a sledgehammer and stuffed in a plastic tote before being buried in Nevada.
Dozier has said that he didn’t kill Greene. According to The Marshall Project, Dozier returned to his meth trailer where Greene had been staying, only to find him dead. He allegedly buried the body with Joe Wolslager, who would become a witness in the case, to protect his drug operation.
Dozier was also convicted in the 2002 murder of Jeremiah Miller, who police say Dozier shot and dismembered. “His body was mutilated,” a prosecutor told a jury, according to The Marshall Project. “His arms were disarticulated at the elbows. His legs were disarticulated at the knees. His head was removed, and he was cut in half.” Miller’s head was never found.
2. He attempted suicide in 2005
After being convicted of Greene’s murder, Dozier attempted suicide in jail. According to The Marshall Project, “he took a massive dose of amitriptyline, an antidepressant, and was in a coma for two weeks. He tried to pull out his intubation tube and lost more than 70 pounds.” Dozier said of the incident, “I couldn’t even wheel my own [sic] wheelchair,” he recalled, ultimately promising himself he wouldn’t attempt suicide again.
3. He was sentenced to death in 2007
In 2007, a jury ultimately decided that Dozier should be put to death for his crimes. He has been in prison ever since, which he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal isn’t the way he wants to live. “Life in prison isn’t a life,” he said. “This isn’t living, man. It’s just surviving.”
4. He asked to be executed
Dozier made headlines in October 2016 when he wrote a letter to his judge asking to be executed, writing, “I, Scott Raymond Dozier...of sound mind, do hereby request that my death sentence be enacted and I be put to death.”
Dozier’s decision to move forward with the death penalty makes him what the legal world considers him a “volunteer.” While most Death Row inmates appeal their convictions, Dozier isn’t the first to give up. According to The Marshall Project, “of the more than 1,400 men and women who have been executed in the U.S. in the last four decades, roughly one in 10 have abandoned their appeals,” including Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and Florida multiple-murderer Aileen Wuornos.
“If people say they’re going to kill me, get to it,” Dozier told the Review-Journal.
5. He’ll be executed with a fentanyl-based drug cocktail
While the death penalty is controversial in and of itself, Nevada took it to the next step when they announced they’d use fentanyl in the execution. Fentanyl has gained national attention as the opioid crisis in the U.S. worsens, with The Guardian reporting that it’s responsible for more than 20,000 overdose deaths in 2016. According to Dozier’s public defenders, “the untried three-drug combination would be less humane than putting down a pet.”
“Using fentanyl in an execution is particularly strange and confusing because of its place in the opioid epidemic,” Amy Rose, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Nevada, told The Guardian. “But on top of that it’s never been used in an execution before. It’s extremely experimental. There is a very real risk of a botched execution.”
The drug cocktail will also use cisatracurium and midazolam, a sedative that’s reported to sometimes cause convulsions that suggest the inmate dies in pain. However, pharmaceutical company Alvogen has motioned to block the use of midazolam, claiming the prison obtained the drug illegally.
6. It’s Nevada's first execution in 12 years
According to Time, the last execution in Nevada occured over 10 years ago under similar circumstances. Inmate Daryl Linnie asked to be executed for his rape and murder conviction. “We don’t kill them in Nevada unless they agree to it,” Clark County public defender Scott Coffee told The Marshall Project. “What you’ve got with Dozier is state-assisted suicide.”