James Barber, an inmate on Alabama’s death row since 2004, has raised concerns about the state’s ability to carry out his upcoming execution, Your Content has learned.
Last fall, Alabama temporarily halted the death penalty after facing difficulties with lethal injection attempts.
Barber, who is scheduled for execution on Thursday, remains skeptical about the state’s execution procedure despite a supposed “top-to-bottom” review.
Previous executions faced delays and complications with inserting IV lines into inmates’ veins, raising doubts about the effectiveness of the protocol.
“I have no fear of death,” stated Barber, 64, in a phone interview from the correctional facility where he is held. “But I have a fair amount of trepidation about a flawed process they haven’t adequately addressed.”
Governor Kay Ivey announced in February that executions would resume after internal changes were made within the corrections system. However, details of the review’s findings were not disclosed, leading critics to argue for an independent evaluation of the state’s capital punishment protocols.
Barber’s lawyers are currently presenting arguments before a federal appeals court to block the execution, citing concerns of potential harm. The state attorney general’s office has not provided comments on the matter.
If the execution proceeds, it will be the first to follow a new procedure approved by the state Supreme Court, allowing the governor to set a specific time frame for an inmate’s execution. This change replaces the previous midnight deadline, which had created unnecessary pressure on corrections personnel.
Barber was convicted of the 2001 murder of Dorothy Epps, an elderly homeowner, during a robbery. He expressed remorse for his actions and has found solace in religion while serving his sentence.
While some of Epps’ family members plan to attend the execution, one of her grandchildren, Sarah Gregory, has forgiven Barber. She emphasized the importance of setting aside anger and extending compassion.
Barber finds it perplexing that officials who support the sanctity of life through anti-abortion stances can simultaneously advocate for capital punishment, especially when victims’ families plead for mercy.
As Barber’s execution date approaches, fellow death row inmates at his prison held a vigil in solidarity. They aim to support and remind condemned prisoners that they are not alone.
The fate of Barber’s execution now rests with the appeals court, which has yet to make a ruling, according to NBC.