Killer’s eerie last words before execution

A man who brutally attacked and killed an elderly couple in cold blood in 2004 has been sentenced to death.

Jamie Ray Mills, 50, was executed by lethal injection in an Alabama prison on Thursday after spending 20 years on death row.

He is the first person to be put to death at William C. Holman Correctional Institution after the controversial nitrogen gassing of another inmate in January.

Lethal injection remains the country’s default method of execution unless a condemned inmate specifically requests death by nitrogen or the electric chair.

Witnesses said Mills gave a thumbs-up to his family members, who were watching his death from another room, and later mouthed the words “I love you” in their direction.

He was then given the opportunity to make a final statement. At the time, he expressed no remorse for his actions.

“I love my family. I love my brother and sister. I couldn’t ask for more,” Mills said, thanking his lawyer Charlotte Morrison of the Equal Justice Initiative.

“Charlotte, you fought hard for me. I love you all.”

The last two words he said were “go ahead.”

The first drug for execution – a sedative – was then injected into his veins, causing him to quickly lose consciousness. His spiritual advisor was praying at the foot of his cart.

Seven minutes later, a guard performed a “consciousness check” that confirmed Mills was still “breathing very shallowly.”

Some of Mills’ relatives wept softly during the execution, witnesses said.

Two minutes later he stopped breathing. Mills was pronounced dead at 6:26 p.m.

His final meal was a decadent seafood feast, including three large shrimp, two catfish fillets, three oysters, three onion rings and one stuffed crab. Montgomery’s advisorreported.

“Tonight, two decades after he committed these murders, Jamie Mills paid the price for his heinous crimes,” Alabama Governor Kay Ivey said in a statement.

“I pray for the victims and their loved ones.”

Family members of the victims who witnessed the execution said that after two decades of waiting, “justice has been served”.

“Our family can now have some closure to this heinous crime he committed and our loving grandparents can rest in peace,” they said.

“Let this be a lesson to those who believe that justice will not find you.

“Hopefully this will deter others from committing crimes in the future. God help us all.”

The Equal Justice Initiative, which supported Mills, said prosecutors “lied, misled and misrepresented the reliability of the evidence against Jamie Mills for 17 years.”

“The day will come when governments will recognize the perverse injustice of this process and the injustice of this sentence,” they said after the execution.

“It will be a day too late for Jamie Mills, which makes his death tragically regrettable and sadly unjust.”

However, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall stated that there is overwhelming evidence against Mills.

“His actions were cold and calculating, and the sentence handed down has never been more deserved,” he said.

Mills has always maintained his innocence.

An unimaginable crime

Mills was convicted of murder in 2004 over the deaths of elderly couple Floyd Hill, 87, and his wife Vera, 72. He was sentenced to death in 2007.

The couple were viciously attacked in their homes and beaten with a hammer, machete and tire tool.

To earn some extra money and get a job, the couple often held garage sales and spent a lot of time with their beloved grandchildren. which they used to inspect because of their age.

On June 24, 2004, the couple’s daughter and granddaughter became concerned when their phone did not answer, USA Today reported.

When the front door was not opened for them, the women called the police.

After authorities were also unable to gain access to the home, they searched the property.

One officer noticed that the couple’s bed was still made, Vera’s walker was in the living room and Floyd’s alarm clock was still ringing.

Walking towards their shed, one officer saw that it was locked. When he stood on the bench to get a better look, he was greeted by a gruesome sight.

Floyd and Vera lay in pools of their own blood and suffered terrible head and facial injuries.

Incredibly, Vera’s hand moved ever so slightly. She was still alive.

“Get me out of here,” she managed to say as her dead husband lay beside her.

Although Vera managed to survive the brutal attack, she died two months later of complications from her injuries on September 12, 2004.

“The head injuries Vera Hill sustained were life-threatening and she would have died within hours of her injuries if she had not received the medical care she did,” said Sherry Melton, a trauma surgeon at the University of Alabama. . Hospital.

The cause of death for both Floyd and Vera was blunt force trauma to the head and neck.

In the last weeks of her life, Vera struggled a lot, and according to court records, the only word she could ever say was “Floyd.”

Jamie Mills was convicted of the crime largely on the testimony of his then-wife, JoAnn Mills.

She claimed they had spent the night before the murders together smoking methamphetamine. They went to the Hill residence and asked to use their phone.

When JoAnn claims her husband attacked and killed them, the elderly couple comply and even start showing them their garage sale items.

Prosecutors allege robbery was the motive and say Mills got away with just US$140 (AUD$210) and some prescription pills.

His lawyer argued that he did not deserve the death penalty for several reasons, one of which was that he had two then-teenage sons.

“By him being alive and actually being their father, even if it’s a distant father, maybe he can show them where he went wrong and prevent them from going down the same path,” he said.

Defense attorney Jack Bostick told jurors that Mills’ crimes were “wrong, immoral and barbaric.”

“You have two elderly people, retired, having a yard sale that went on for about a week, he said, according to court documents.

“Someone comes by on the pretense of using their phone, sits there and keeps acting like they’re on the phone, gaining courage.

“It’s almost unimaginable that anyone could be so cruel to another human being to do this to them. Hills had no chance.”

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