The Latest: Alabama executes man for 1982 murder-for-hire

This undated photo released by the Alabama Department of Corrections shows death row inmate Tommy Arthur, who was convicted in the 1982 murder of Troy Wicker. Arthur, nicknamed the Houdini of death row after having seventh executions postponed is facing an eighth date with the death chamber on Thursday, May 25, 2017, and a diminishing chance of winning another reprieve. (Alabama Department of Corrections via AP)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The Latest on the execution of Alabama prisoner Tommy Arthur (all times local):

12:15 a.m.

Alabama has put to death Tommy Arthur, the man who escaped seven prior execution dates for his conviction in a 1982 murder-for-hire.

Officials say the 75-year-old inmate was pronounced dead at 12:15 a.m. CDT Friday following a lethal injection at a southwest Alabama prison.

Arthur was convicted in the fatal shooting of Troy Wicker as he slept in his Muscle Shoals home. Wicker's wife initially blamed an intruder, but later testified she promised Arthur $10,000 to kill her husband.

The execution follows years of appeals by Arthur questioning Alabama's injection procedure and other issues. But Arthur, who maintained innocence, told The Associated Press by phone Monday he knew chances of an eighth reprieve were diminished.

"I'm terrified but there's nothing I can do," he said.

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10:45 p.m.

The U.S. Supreme Court says the planned execution of an Alabama inmate can proceed.

The court ruled late Thursday that the execution of Tommy Arthur could go forward after issuing a temporary stay earlier in the day.

Arthur was scheduled to be executed Thursday evening. He was convicted of murdering Troy Wicker in 1982 as the man slept inside his Muscle Shoals home. The 75-year-old is on his eighth execution date and has maintained his innocence.

The nation's high court issued a temporary stay "pending further order" from the justices late Thursday afternoon.

Arthur's attorneys had filed two last-minute appeals to the court. One challenged the use of a drug in the state's lethal injection protocol and the other called for a telephone in the death chamber so lawyers can call the court if something goes wrong.

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5:40 p.m.

The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a temporary stay on the execution of an Alabama prison inmate.

The nation's high court stayed the execution of Tommy Arthur, "pending further order" from the justices, late Thursday afternoon. Arthur was scheduled to be executed Thursday evening.

Arthur's attorneys filed two last-minute appeals to the court. One challenges the use of a drug in the state's lethal injection protocol and the other called for a telephone in the death chamber so lawyers can call the court if something goes wrong.

The 75-year-old Arthur is on his eighth execution date. He was convicted in the 1982 murder-for-hire slaying of Troy Wicker.

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5:20 p.m.

An Alabama inmate is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to halt his execution, which he says will be an "intentional infliction of pain."

Lawyers for Tommy Arthur filed the stay request Thursday, about an hour before Arthur was set to be given a lethal injection. They argued the state plans to use an ineffective sedative and Arthur will feel "the chemical equivalent of being burned at the stake."

His lawyers cited a December execution in which the inmate coughed for the first 13 minutes of the procedure. The state contends there is no evidence that inmate Ronald Bert Smith experienced pain during that execution.

In a separate, earlier filing to the nation's high court, Arthur's lawyers said there should be a telephone in the death chamber, so lawyers can call a court if something goes wrong.

The 75-year-old Arthur was convicted in the 1982 murder-for-hire of Troy Wicker.

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5 p.m.

An Alabama inmate scheduled to be executed Thursday evening has made a final request to view a photo of his children during the lethal injection.

Alabama Department of Corrections spokesman Bob Horton says Tommy Arthur's request will be granted.

The 75-year-old Arthur was convicted in the 1982 murder-for-hire slaying of Troy Wicker.

Wicker's two sons are expected to witness the execution. Arthur's daughter is also expected to witness it.

Horton said Arthur declined to have a final meal. He has not had any visitors in the day leading up to his executions. He has spoken with his attorneys and his son and daughter by telephone.

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3:20 p.m.

Alabama death row inmate Tommy Arthur is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to block his execution set for Thursday night.

Attorneys for Arthur say the court should intervene to consider whether they should have access to a telephone in the execution suite.

They say a string of "botched" executions means defense lawyers should be able to call a court in something goes wrong.

Arthur's lawyers also have challenged the use of the sedative midazolam during the execution. They argue the inmate could feel pain because the drug isn't effective.

The 75-year-old Arthur was convicted in the 1982 murder-for-hire slaying of Troy Wicker. Courts have intervened seven previous execution dates that were set for Arthur.

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3 p.m.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey is refusing to approve DNA testing for a death row inmate just hours away from execution.

Lawyers for Tommy Arthur sought testing for hair samples that were collected during the investigation.

But a response from the governor's office released Thursday says such testing would only confirm facts presented to jurors who heard the case against the 75-year-old Arthur.

Arthur was convicted in the 1982 contract killing of Troy Wicker. He maintains he is innocent.

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2:08 p.m.

A federal appeals court is refusing to block the execution of Alabama death row inmate Tommy Arthur.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a stay requested by Arthur. Its order was issued just hours before Arthur is set to die by lethal injection on Thursday night.

Arthur was challenging the state's use of the sedative midazolam at the start of the execution procedure. Arthur claims the drug is ineffective and will let him feel the pain of drugs meant to stop his heart.

His challenge is now expected to go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The 75-year-old Arthur is on his eighth execution date. He was convicted in the 1982 murder-for-hire slaying of Troy Wicker.

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1:10 p.m.

The Alabama Supreme Court is refusing to halt the execution of an inmate, just hours before he is scheduled to die.

The court on Thursday rejected a stay requested by inmate Tommy Arthur. He is set to be put to death by injection Thursday night.

One justice dissented without comment.

Arthur was seeking more time to pursue a lawsuit claiming Alabama improperly left key decisions regarding lethal injection procedures to state prison officials rather than legislators.

Arthur's attorneys also asked the U.S. Supreme Court to order that defense lawyers have access to a telephone during the execution. The lawyers say they want to be able to contact judges if the execution appears to go awry.

The 75-year-old Arthur is on his eighth execution date. He was convicted in the 1982 murder-for-hire slaying of Troy Wicker.

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4 a.m.

Alabama is set to execute a man who has had planned lethal injections delayed by the courts seven times.

Seventy-five-year-old Tommy Arthur is scheduled to be put to death Thursday for the 1982 murder-for-hire of Troy Wicker.

Judy Wicker initially told police a black man broke into the house, raped her and killed her husband. After her conviction, she testified that Arthur killed her husband while wearing a wig and makeup.

Arthur's legal team has made last-minute appeals seeking to stay the execution. They argued the state intends to use an unreliable sedative and has refused DNA testing on the wig.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said Arthur is an egregious example of how a convicted murderer can manipulate the legal system "to avoid justice."

Arthur maintains his innocence.

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