Killer’s eerie last words before execution

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A man who cold-bloodedly attacked and killed an elderly couple in 2004 was executed.

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 executed at the William C. Holman Correctional Facility since the controversial execution of another inmate by nitrogen gas in January.

Lethal injection remains the standard method of execution in the United States, unless the person sentenced to death specifically requests execution by nitrogen gas or the electric chair.

Witnesses said Mills gave a “thumbs up” to family members who watched his death from another room and later mouthed the words “I love you” to them.

He was then given the opportunity to make a final statement. During this time, he did not express any remorse for his actions.

“I love my family. I love my brother and my sister. I couldn’t ask for more,” said Mills, 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 “keep going.”

Then the first means of execution – a tranquilizer – flowed into his veins, after which he quickly lost consciousness. His spiritual advisor prayed at the foot of his stretcher.

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

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

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

His last meal was a decadent seafood feast, including three large shrimp, two catfish fillets, three oysters, three onion rings and a stuffed crab, which Montgomery Consultantreported.

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

“I pray for the victims and their families.”

Family members of the victims who attended the execution said that after 20 years of waiting, “justice had been done.”

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

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

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

The Equal Justice Initiative, which supports Mills, said prosecutors “lied, deceived and misrepresented the credibility of the evidence against Jamie Mills for 17 years.”

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

“For Jamie Mills, that day will come too late, making his death a tragic regret and a sad injustice.”

However, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said there was a wealth of evidence against Mills.

“His actions were cold and calculated, and the punishment he received was never more deserved,” he said.

Mills has always maintained his innocence.

Unthinkable crime

Mills was found guilty of capital crimes for killing elderly couple Floyd Hill (87) and his wife Vera (72) in 2004. He was sentenced to death in 2007.

The couple was brutally attacked in their home and beaten to death with a hammer, machete and tire tools.

To earn some extra money and keep themselves busy, the couple often held garage sales and spent a lot of time with their beloved grandchildren, who had made it a habit to look after them since they were so old.

According to USA Today, the couple’s daughter and granddaughter became concerned on June 24, 2004, when they didn’t answer their phones.

When they didn’t open the front door, the women called the police.

After the authorities were also denied access to the house, they searched the property.

An 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.

When a police officer went to their shed, he saw that it was padlocked. When he stood on a bench to get a better look, he was met with a gruesome sight.

Floyd and Vera lay in pools of blood and had suffered terrible injuries to their heads and faces.

It was hard to believe, but Vera’s arm moved slightly. She was still alive.

“Let me out of here,” she said as her dead husband lay next to her.

Although Vera survived the brutal attack, she died two months later on September 12, 2004 from her injuries.

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

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

In the last weeks of her life, Vera was in great difficulty and, according to court documents, the only word she could ever say was “Floyd.”

Jamie Mills’ conviction was largely based on the testimony of his then-wife, JoAnn Mills.

She claimed they spent the night before the murders together smoking methamphetamine. They went to the Hills’ residence and asked if they could use their phone.

The elderly couple complied and even began showing them the items from their garage sale when JoAnn claimed her husband had attacked and killed her.

Prosecutors say robbery was the motive, claiming Mills only stole $140 ($210 AUD) and some prescription drugs.

His lawyer argued that he did not deserve the death penalty for several reasons, one of which was that he had two sons who were teenagers at the time.

“By being alive and actually being a father to them – even if only from a distance – maybe he can show them what he did wrong and stop them from going down the same path,” he said.

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

“Two elderly retired people have been running a garage sale for about a week,” he said, according to court documents.

“Someone comes by under the pretense of using their phone, sits there and pretends to make a call, and gathers up all their courage.

“It’s almost unimaginable that someone could be so cruel to another human being that this would happen to them. The Hills didn’t stand a chance.”

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