Alabama executed Matthew Reeves last night despite the fact he had an intellectual disability. His execution was the second state killing yesterday after Oklahoma executed Donald Grant in the morning.
State officials killed Reeves after the U.S. Supreme Court lifted a lower court order staying his execution.
Reeves was killed by lethal injection because he failed to choose a new method, nitrogen hypoxia, within the 30-day period required by corrections officials. Reeves’ lawyers had argued that his intellectual disabilities prevented him from understanding the form giving him the option of choosing nitrogen hypoxia over lethal injection. Reeves reportedly read at only a third-grade level.
Reeves was sentenced to death for the killing of Willie Johnson, who had given Reeves and several other men who were hitchhiking a ride in 1996. Two jurors had voted against death, but Alabama is the only state that doesn’t require a unanimous verdict in a death sentence.