April 12 (UPI) -- The Supreme Court ruled that the execution of an Alabama man should go forward, but the state will have to reschedule the lethal injection because the high court's ruling came during Friday's pre-dawn hours after the inmate's execution warrant expired.
Christopher Price, 46, was scheduled to die Thursday evening, but last-minute appeals led to a lengthy consideration by the Supreme Court, whose 5-4 ruling wasn't issued until 3 a.m. Price's execution warrant expired at midnight.
Price's lawyers argued that Alabama's three-drug lethal injection protocol was likely to cause severe pain. U.S. District Judge Kristi DuBose issued a stay of execution Thursday and the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld her ruling.
But the Supreme Court didn't agree.
The majority said Price waited too late to request death by nitrogen hypoxia and submit final evidence against his lethal injection -- hours before the scheduled execution.
Alabama uses midazolam, a sedative, in its lethal injection protocol. Critics say the drug does not render a person sufficiently unconscious to prevent them from feeling the pain caused by the other two drugs in the cocktail.
Price was sentenced to death row for the 1991 robbery and murder of Bill Lynn.