Prison and Prisoners

Death row inmate in Alabama executed by lethal injection for role in quadruple killing

Death row inmate Michael Brandon Samra was given a lethal injection at William C. Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Alabama. on Thursday, May 16, 2019. Photo Alabama Department of Corrections.

Death row inmate Michael Brandon Samra was given a lethal injection at William C. Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Alabama, on Thursday, May 16, 2019. Photo Alabama Department of Corrections.

Alabama administered a lethal injection Thursday evening to a man condemned for his role in a quadruple killing.

41-year-old Michael Brandon Samra was pronounced dead at 7:33pm, following a three-drug lethal injection, according to prison officials.

Samra was on death row at William C. Holman Correctional Facility. The Alabama Supreme Court set his execution date in April.

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Steven R. Sears, an attorney representing Samra had asked the governor to halt his lethal injection arguing it should weigh the fact that he was 19 at the time of the crimes. 

Michael Brandon Samra was pronounced dead at 7:33 p.m, Thursday, following a lethal injection.

In 2017, a Kentucky trial court ruled in an unrelated case that the death penalty was unconstitutional for defendants younger than 21. Sears asked for a reprieve until the Kentucky Supreme Court decided the appeal.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider extending its ban on executing juvenile offenders to people who were as old as 20 when they committed their crimes. A stay on Samra’s death sentence was also rejected by the court.

About eight hours before the drugs flowed, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey denied a request for clemency from Samra.

Six witnesses from the victims’ families witnessed the execution, along with two attorneys, his spiritual adviser, and members of the media. 

Following Samra’s lethal injection at the state prison in Atmore, a physician declared him dead at 7:33pm.

The families of the victims released a statement afterward, thanking the police and community for supporting them and said: “Today justice was carried out.”

Samra was convicted of capital murder in the 1997 deaths of four people in Shelby County, Alabama.

Court records state, Samra helped his friend, Mark Duke, kill his own father Randy Duke, his fiancée Dedra Mims Hunt, and her two daughters, 6-year-old Chelisa Nicole Hunt and 7-year-old Chelsea Marie Hunt.

Randy and Dedra were shot to death, while the girls’ throats were slashed.

The slayings happened after Duke became angry when his father wouldn’t let him use his truck. 

He was called the “mastermind” of the plot.

Duke was 16 and Samra was 19 at the time of their of the crimes.

Duke’s death sentence was converted to life without parole in 2005 after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled prisoners could not be put to death for crimes that happened while they were younger than 18. 

Duel Executions

Separately, a man convicted of killing his wife at a camping center he managed in Memphis, Tennessee was put to death on the same day.

Sixty-eight-year-old inmate Don Johnson was executed for the suffocation of his wife, Connie Johnson in 1984.

He initially blamed his wife’s death on a work-release inmate who confessed to helping dispose of her body but was granted immunity for testifying against Johnson.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee turned down last-ditch clemency requests on Tuesday.

After 34 years on death row, Johnson was pronounced dead at 7:37pm., May 16 from a lethal injection at a maximum-security prison in Nashville. 

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