A man convicted of the 1992 rape and beating death of a woman is scheduled to receive a lethal injection Thursday in what would be Alabama’s first execution in more than two years.
Christopher Eugene Brooks, 43, is set to die at 6 p.m. CST at Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, authorities said.
He was convicted of the capital murder of 23-year-old Jo Deann Campbell, a woman authorities say he first met when they worked at a camp in upstate New York.
Campbell was seen speaking to Brooks at a restaurant where she worked on Dec. 30, 1992, and she later told a friend someone was spending the night in her living room, according to witnesses. The next day, police found Campbell’s partially clothed body under the bed of her apartment in the Birmingham suburb of Homewood. Prosecutors said she was bludgeoned with an 8-pound dumbbell and sexually assaulted.
Brooks’ bloody fingerprint was on a doorknob in Campbell’s bedroom and a latent palm print on her ankle, according to court records. The documents say Brooks was found later with Campbell’s car keys and had cashed her paycheck and used her gas station credit card.
At trial, defense lawyers argued that another man who was at the apartment that night might have committed the murder. While DNA testing was at its infancy then, prosecution witness said semen found on the victim’s body was consistent with Brooks’ DNA.
Alabama’s last execution was in 2013. Drug shortages and litigation prevented any executions since.
Authorities said it would be the first execution since Alabama announced in 2014 it was changing two of the three drugs in its procedure, including a switch to the sedative midazolam to render the inmate unconscious.
Lawyers for the state have argued Alabama’s new drug combination is “virtually identical” to the one Florida has used multiple times without incident. But attorneys for Brooks argued that midazolam was used in problematic executions, including one in which an Oklahoma inmate took 43 minutes to die.
The U.S. Supreme Court — in a split decision in June — allowed Oklahoma to proceed with the use of midazolam. Six Alabama inmates argue in an ongoing lawsuit that it is an ineffective anesthetic and that they would feel the effects of the subsequent injections of rocuronium bromide and potassium chloride to stop their lungs and hearts.
On Wednesday, an attorney for Brooks asked the U.S Supreme Court to halt the execution, arguing further court review of the state’s new execution protocol is needed before its first-time use.
“Brooks should not be the subject of Alabama’s experiment to see if it can carry out an execution using this protocol while the very validity of the protocol is at issue in ongoing federal court proceedings,” Assistant Federal Defender John Palombi wrote the Supreme Court.
Brooks’ attorney also asked the Supreme Court to review the case after justices last week ruled Florida’s system for sentencing people to death is unconstitutional because it gives too much power to judges to decide capital sentences.
Lawyers with the Alabama attorney general’s office argued in court filings that Brooks was simply trying to delay his execution. A jury convicted him in 1993 of capital murder for murder committed during the course of a robbery, burglary, and rape.
“Brooks raped and murdered Jo Deann Campbell on December 31, 1992 and her family has been waiting for justice for more than twenty-three years,” lawyers for the state wrote.
Andrew Reid Lackey was the last inmate executed in Alabama, by an injection on July 25, 2013, for killing Charles Newman during a robbery in 2005.
Campbell’s sister, Corrine Campbell, told The Associated Press she and her mother were headed to Atmore on Thursday but still hadn’t decided if they wanted to witness the planned execution.
She added her sister was very welcoming and trusting, but had no idea whom she had invited to stay at her place when Brooks showed up uninvited.
“She was young, energetic, bubbly, hard-working. The young lady had no enemies,” said Corrine Campbell.
On Thursday, U.S. District Judge W. Keith Watkins, responding to a motion by lawyers for Alabama death row inmates, ordered prison officials to retain medical records of the planned execution. The judge said any logs by the execution team and any data generated by an electric heartbeat monitor must be kept. He didn’t say inmates’ lawyers, who are challenging the new execution method, would get to see them.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.