A Muslim inmate who filed a legal challenge because Alabama wouldn't let his Islamic spiritual adviser be present in the execution chamber was put to death Thursday after the nation's highest court cleared the way.
Dominique Ray, 42, was pronounced dead at 10:12 p.m. of a lethal injection at the state prison in Atmore.
Ray had argued Alabama's execution procedure favors Christian inmates because a Christian chaplain employed by the prison typically remains in the execution chamber during a lethal injection, but the state would not let his imam be there in the room.
Attorneys for the state said only prison employees are allowed in the chamber for security reasons.
Ray's imam, Yusef Maisonet, watched the execution from an adjoining witness room, after visiting with Ray over the past two days. There was no Christian chaplain in the chamber, a concession the state agreed to make.
Strapped to a gurney in the death chamber, Ray was asked by the warden if he had any final words. The inmate said an Islamic statement of his faith in Arabic.
Ray was sentenced to death for the 1995 rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl. Tiffany Harville disappeared from her Selma home on July 15, 1995, and her decomposing body was found one month later in a cotton field.
It was Alabama's first execution of the year.
Ray was convicted in 1999 after another man, Marcus Owden, confessed to his role in the crime and implicated Ray.
Owden told police that they had picked the girl up for a night out on the town and then raped her.
Owden said that Ray cut the girl's throat. Owden pleaded guilty to murder, testified against Ray and is serving a life sentence without parole.
A jury recommended the death penalty for Ray by an 11-1 vote.
Dominique Ray, 42, was pronounced dead at 10:12 p.m. of a lethal injection at the state prison in Atmore. Ray was sentenced to death for the 1995 rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl.