ELY, Nev. – A Nevada inmate sentenced to death in 2007 for committing drug-related murders in Phoenix and Las Vegas, and who had tried several times to kill himself after two scheduled lethal injections were postponed, was found dead hanging from a bedsheet Saturday, officials said.
Scott Raymond Dozier, 48, was found unresponsive in the death-row cell he was housed in by himself at the state’s maximum-security prison in Ely, the Nevada Department of Corrections said. He was pronounced dead at 4:35 p.m. after medical staff attempted to treat him, FOX5 Las Vegas reported.
Dozier’s execution had been delayed twice. He previously said the fight over his fate was taking a toll on him and his family. As a result, he hoped the state would “just get it done.”
“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.
“I’ve been very clear about my desire to be executed … even if suffering is inevitable.”
– Scott Raymond Dozier
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. Consequently, this left him in legal limbo.
“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.
The condemned killer 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.
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 Dozier 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.
While the death-row inmate was placed in isolation to prevent him from taking his life, his attorneys 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 guards had last seen him.
The department’s inspector general and White Pine County Sheriff’s Office are investigating the death.