In this Aug. 17, 2017, file photo, Nevada death row inmate Scott Raymond Dozier, right, confers with Lori Teicher, a federal public defender involved in his case, during an appearance in Clark County District Court in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Ken Ritter, File)
“They should stop punishing me and my family for their inability to carry out the execution,” Dozier told the Associated Press in an interview last August, a month after a judge stopped his execution at nearly the final hour.
Dozier’s first scheduled execution by lethal injection had been postponed in November 2017 over concerns the untried drug regimen could leave him suffocating, conscious and unable to move.
“They should stop punishing me and my family for their inability to carry out the execution.”
Trapped in a legal limbo, Dozier’s fate was put on hold as court fights ensued over a three-drug combination that had never been used in the U.S.: the sedative midazolam, the powerful opioid fentanyl and a muscle-paralyzing agent called cisatracurium. Pharmaceutical companies also objected to their medicines being used in capital punishment.
“I’ve been very clear about my desire to be executed … even if suffering is inevitable,” Dozier said in a handwritten note to a state court judge who postponed his execution in November 2017.
Dozier had repeatedly made it clear that he would rather die than spend the rest of his life in prison and during the delays in his execution had even attempted to take his own life.
“I’ve been very clear about my desire to be executed … even if suffering is inevitable.”
A federal lawsuit revealed last December that he had tried several methods to kill himself in recent months, including a bid to obtain drops of a deadly drug on a piece of paper sent through prison mail.
Lawyers for the death-row inmate also revealed that he apparently cut his neck and wrist with a razor in October. Prison officials said they intercepted mail from Dozier’s sister which detailed how to cut the jugular vein in his neck.
In this Dec. 5, 2017, file photo, Nevada death row inmate Scott Dozier appears for his court hearing via video at the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)
While Dozier was placed in isolation to prevent self-harm, his lawyers argued in the suit that it only made his condition deteriorate because of unconstitutional treatment. They said he was denied prison yard recreation time and the ability to read, communicate with his family or effectively consult with legal counsel.
Dozier wasn’t on suicide watch Saturday, Department of Corrections spokeswoman Brooke Santina said. It wasn’t immediately known when Dozier had last been seen by guards.
The department’s inspector general and White Pine County sheriff’s office are investigating the death.
Ryan Gaydos and the Associated Press contributed to this report.