A firing squad would beat lethal drugs for his execution, suggested a Virginia death row inmate who is protesting in federal court against his scheduled January date with fate. Problem is, Virginia doesn't have firing squads.
Ricky Javon Gray, 39, argued through his lawyers that his execution using lethal drugs amounts to cruel and unusual punishment, reported the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He claimed he was being denied due process "behind a veil of secrecy that frustrates Mr. Gray's efforts to learn any meaningful details about the chemicals that will be used to cause his death."
Virginia law requires an inmate to pick between death by injection or electrocution, leaving injection of lethal drugs as the default. Gray's complaint argued that the electric chair is unconstitutional, but suggested a firing squad would not violate his rights.
"It is both more humane, quicker, more effective, and would frankly be completely feasible in Virginia," said Gray's attorney, Lisa Fried, referring to a firing squad, according to WRC-TV.
Gray's attorneys asked that the state's three-drug protocol be declared unconstitutional and that the state secrecy law that prevents Gray from finding out the identity of the drugs be stricken.
Gray is on death row for his role in the murders of Richmond musician Bryan Harvey, his wife Kathryn Harvey, and their two children Stella, 9, and Ruby, 4, on New Year's Day 2006.
Gray and Ray Dandridge, 39, also killed Ashley Baskerville, 21, who had been a lookout during the Harvey murders, Baskerville's mother Mary Tucker, 47, and stepfather Percyell Tucker, 55. The Times-Dispatch said Dandridge is serving a life sentence.
Last week Alabama death row inmate Ronald Bert Smith Jr., 45, appeared to struggle for about 13 minutes during his execution with a lethal drug mix, reported the Washington Post.
Gray's execution would be the first in the state since Alfredo Prieto, convicted of three murders, was executed by lethal injection in October 2015. State officials didn't report any problems with his execution.
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