NEVADA COULD EXECUTE FIRST INMATE IN 15 YEARS

Clark County prosecutors are trying to acquire a death warrant for a death row prisoner at Ely State Prison after exhausting his appeals last November.

UPDATE, 4/14/21: Clark County prosecutors formally requested an execution warrant for Floyd today. Meanwhile, the state assembly passed A.B. 395, the death penalty repeal bill, yesterday, moving on to the state senate for decision. The senate has a democratic majority with support mostly coming from democrats. The bill may pass before an execution date is set for Floyd if they do manage to obtain an execution warrant.

UPDATE, 6/8/21: Las Vegas Judge Michael Villani gave the green light to prosecutors for setting a late-July execution for Zane Floyd. A federal judge could block the execution as early as the 10th to review the lethal injection drugs and protocol before the execution is carried out. If the judge does not block it, Clark County Prosecutors will file the execution warrant on July 9 and will have the execution set for during the week of July 26.

Nev. — Clark County prosecutors have pointed out one death row prisoner that may very well be the next offender executed in the state of Nevada. Zane Floyd, 45, exhausted his appeals at the Supreme Court on Nov. 2 of last year becoming one of the many people on Nevada’s death row who have exhausted their appeals.

A file photo of Zane Michael Floyd, then 23, shortly after being captured for the June 3, 1999 murders in a Las Vegas Albertsons. PHOTO COURTESY: Nevada Department of Corrections

Nevada hasn’t executed a death-row inmate in 15 years and because of that, following suit of Virginia, legislators introduced a bill to repeal the death penalty in the state. The bill may clash with efforts to put Floyd to death considering it was only three months from the introduction of the death penalty repeal bill in Virginia to the governor signing it into law. However, if prosecutors obtain a death warrant around April 1, they could execute Floyd as lawmakers wrap up their 2021 session, blocking further legal hurdles.

THE CRIME

Floyd was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of four in an Albertsons in Las Vegas. Before dawn on June 3, 1999, Floyd walked into an Albertsons wearing military fatigue. He had a 12-gauge shotgun concealed under a robe in which he would shoot anyone he encountered. Four employees died, one survived after being shot twice and playing dead in the produce aisle. He was arrested later and was convicted the next year, also finding him guilty of raping a woman in the guest bedroom in his parent’s house. The killings happened less than two months after the Columbine High School massacre and were eerily similar to the ones in Boulder, Colorado just last week.

THE CHALLENGES

Considering the state of Nevada hasn’t executed an inmate in 15 years, there are some hurdles prosecutors have in their way from executing Floyd. Of course, the death penalty repeal bill may impose challenges on prosecutors moving forward with the execution. Although, it’s not even certain yet that the bill may pass. There are also challenges with lethal injection in Nevada.

Floyd had an argument that said that the jury’s vote was swayed due to prosecutors calling his crime “the worst massacre in Las Vegas.” This, however, was denied by courts. He has also challenged the state’s lethal injection protocol which faced drawn-out legal scrutiny after former death row inmate Scott Dozier waived his appeals to be executed. Dozier came close to both of his execution dates, one in 2017 and one in 2018, but both were stayed last minute. Dozier was found dead, hanging in his death row cell at Ely State Prison in 2019.

Two of the drugs in the state’s three-drug injection, protocol have already expired, while the third drug, fentanyl, is supposed to expire in June. Despite this, the prison director can “select the drug or combination of drugs to be used for the execution after consulting with the Chief Medical Officer.” This possibly means Floyd may be executed using a different protocol.

Former public defender, Franny Forsman, who has represented Floyd for a portion of his decades-long appeal process, has pointed out that Floyd would be among those that will have their sentences commuted to life without parole if the bill passes. She states, “moving forward on it now just seems like this is the wrong time. Let people think about this. Let the legislators think about this. (Prosecutors) are trying to put the case front and center with the legislature. Doing that with someone’s life is inappropriate.”

ON SCOTT DOZIER

As I have said, Nevada tried to execute Scott Raymond Dozier twice in two years. He was convicted and sentenced to death for the April 2002 killing of Jeremiah Miller during a drug deal. In Oct. 2016, he waived his appeals in a letter to the trial judges and his lawyers. Dozier has said that he’d rather be executed instead of living the rest of his life in prison.

“If you say you’re going to f**king kill someone, you should f**king kill them” — Scott Dozier on a phone interview with VICE News’s Gianna Toboni in 2018 after his second execution date was postponed.

His first execution date was set for Oct. 16, 2017, but was postponed until Nov. 14, 2017. He was a few days from execution when the Clark County District Court granted a stay to allow the prosecution to appeal its ruling prohibiting the use of a paralytic drug in the state’s lethal injection protocol. Dozier was spared from execution and was sent back to death row.

His second execution date was set for July 11, 2018. He was just a few minutes away from execution, even said to be laying on the gurney, when the Clark County District Court granted both a temporary restraining order and a stay of execution due to the court barring the use of midazolam manufactured by Alvogen Pharmaceuticals in any execution. Dozier was outraged after Nevada not carrying out his death sentence for the second time.

Pharmaceuticals that once produced the drugs for lethal injection barred the use of their drugs in executions, leaving states to run out of supply. However, Nevada, along with Nebraska, considered using fentanyl as a drug to put inmates to death after not having the drugs used in the original lethal injection protocol. Because the new drug cocktail had never been tested, concerns were raised about whether it would be effective and humane, ultimately leading to a stay of execution.

Dozier would’ve been the first inmate executed in 12 years in the state of Nevada but was found dead in his cell in 2019 from an apparent suicide. He went through a mental health ward in which he sued the state for the poor treatment he allegedly received there. Dozier has gone on to say multiple times that he’s not a suicidal person and favors his execution.

Scott Raymond Dozier in court in 2018. PHOTO COURTESY: Richard Brian for Las Vegas Review.

IT IS STILL POSSIBLE

With the new execution chamber never having a use, it may very well have its first soon. It is still very possible that Floyd is put to death before the bill passes or that the bill dies in the legislature. The District Attorney has even supported the prosecutor’s motion to seek a death warrant, saying “we believe Mr. Floyd should be executed.” With the support of the repeal bill increasing, it is still unknown that Floyd will be executed this year, or at all. Zane Floyd remains on Nevada’s death row until further notice.

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Official account for the project organized by Ember Baker keeping people updated on what happens in America’s and Japan’s Death Row.

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DeathRowWatcher

DeathRowWatcher

Official account for the project organized by Ember Baker keeping people updated on what happens in America’s and Japan’s Death Row.

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