Man Maintains Innocence as He Faces 8th Execution Date

Tommy Arthur has escaped execution 7 times in past 16 years
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted May 24, 2017 5:35 PM CDT
The 'Houdini' of Death Row Faces His 8th Execution Date
Tommy Arthur   (Alabama Department of Corrections via AP)

When you've faced your own execution seven times with an eighth on the way, it's important to have the right mindset. “You can either let a stressful situation break you ... or you hold on to hope and use your every waking moment to fight," Tommy Arthur tells the Guardian. The 75-year-old has been on death row in Alabama for 34 years. Arthur has had seven executions scheduled over the past 16 years for murdering the husband of the woman with whom he was having an affair. All seven have been delayed—sometimes with just minutes to spare. Arthur stopped having visitors after his sixth scheduled execution to save him and them the stress. He also doesn't have last meals. "When they're trying to kill you, you're not hungry."

Arthur's eighth execution date is Thursday night. He won a court ruling Tuesday, but it wasn't enough to stop the execution, reports. "They are going to kill me this time," the man called the "Houdini" of death row tells the AP. Most of Arthur's delays have been related to the constitutionality of the execution method. But he also maintains his innocence and will continue to do so "until I draw my last breath." His lawyer says there's no physical evidence tying Arthur to the murder and is pushing for new DNA testing. But Arthur does admit to killing his sister-in-law on accident, a crime for which he spent years in prison. He also briefly escaped from prison in 1986 by shooting a guard in the neck. Arthur says his last wish is to apologize to his children. (More death row stories.)

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