Alabama Execution Carried Out Despite Protests Claiming Mental Illness

The state of Alabama carried out the execution of Andrew Reid Lackey, 29, despite protests and claims that Lackey was mentally ill and did not qualify for the death penalty.

Lackey was found guilty of beating and shooting 80-year-old Charles Newman at his home. A 911 call from Newman's home recorded the man saying, "Leave me alone" and asking, "What do you want?" Newman's final recorded words were "Come sit down and let me pray for you."

Newman's grandson, a friend of Lackey's, had told the young man that his grandfather had a vault filled with gold bars, which could have been the reason Lackey entered the home and attacked Newman.

A prisoners' rights group protested the execution and stated that Lackey was mentally ill, took several psychotropic drugs and had attempted suicide. However, Lackey wanted to be executed and even wrote a letter to the Alabama Supreme Court asking for his death sentence to be carried out.

"Please set me an execution date. I do not wish to pursue any further appeals for my death sentence," Lackey wrote.

A family member also went to the court to expedite the execution. His parents, brother, and an aunt were present when Lackey was put to death by lethal injection yesterday; he gave no final comment and was pronounced dead at 6:25 p.m. CDT. His family has not made any statement about his execution.

According to reports, Lackey is the first to die by lethal injection since 2011. The state had slowed the practice because of a legal dispute over the drugs being used to conduct the executions. However, there was no problem with Lackey's execution, and witnesses said it appeared that Lackey simply took a few breaths and went to sleep.

Of course, reaction to Lackey's death has been quite mixed, compounded by the fact that the victim was a veteran. Many believe that Lackey should have been forced to serve a sentence behind bars, while others are grateful that closure has been attained for the family.