Death of convicted murderer confirmed as suicide
LAS VEGAS — The death of a twice-convicted murderer who declared that he wanted to die and became frustrated when his lethal injection was postponed by legal challenges has been confirmed as a suicide, authorities said Monday.
Scott Raymond Dozier, 48, died Jan. 4, said the office of the Clark County coroner in Las Vegas that performed the autopsy.
Prison officials had reported that Dozier was found unresponsive in his solo cell on death-row at Ely State Prison.
White Pine County Sheriff Scott Henriod had said there was no indication of foul play.
Dozier said repeatedly he would rather be executed than live his life in prison.
Critics said he sought state-assisted suicide.
His lawyers and state attorneys revealed in federal court filings in November that Dozier tried several times in October to arrange ways to kill himself, including apparent cuts on his neck and arms and an attempt to have poison sent to him through prison mail.
The filings came in a case in which Dozier complained that he didn’t like being held under suicide watch or close-security administrative segregation.
Prison officials said he was not on suicide watch since before the court filings in November.
Dozier suspended appeals of his 2007 death sentence stemming from his conviction in the 2002 robbery-killing of 22-year-old Jeremiah Miller in Las Vegas.
He also was convicted in Phoenix of second-degree murder for killing 26-year-old Jasen Green in 2002.
His execution would have been the first in Nevada since 2006.
It was called off in November 2017 and July 2018 during legal challenges — first to a three-drug combination that had never been used in the U.S. and then by drug companies suing to block their products from being used in an execution.
Nevada wanted to use the sedative midazolam, the powerful opioid fentanyl and a muscle-paralyzing agent called cisatracurium for Dozier’s execution. Fentanyl is a drug blamed for illegal-use, drug overdose deaths nationwide.
Federal public defenders who represented Dozier said the combination could have rendered Dozier immobile but aware he was suffocating to death. They called it less humane than putting down a pet.
The fight propelled Nevada to the top of a national debate about the death penalty and showed extraordinary efforts some states take to try to obtain drugs from pharmaceutical companies that insist they don’t want their products used for executions.
Fifteen of the 30 other states in the U.S. with capital punishment have backed Nevada in a drug company case still pending before the state Supreme Court.
The states argue that harassment from advocacy groups and threats of boycotts against pharmaceutical makers are keeping prison officials from enforcing the will of voters in states with the death penalty.
Nevada now has 79 people on death row but none immediately in line for an execution, state prisons spokeswoman Brooke Santina said.