‘Houdini’ of Alabama death row executed for murder-for-hire

A man once dubbed the “Houdini” of Alabama’s death row after averting seven prior execution dates was put to death Friday, capping years of litigation challenging the humaneness of lethal injection.

Tommy Arthur, 75, was pronounced dead at 12:15 a.m. CDT Friday after receiving an injection at the state prison in Atmore, authorities said. Arthur was convicted of killing riverboat engineer Troy Wicker, who was fatally shot as he slept in his home.

“Thomas Arthur’s protracted attempt to escape justice is finally at an end,” Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said in a statement. “Most importantly, tonight, the family of Troy Wicker can begin the long-delayed process of recovery from a painful loss.”

Wicker’s two sons witnessed the execution but made no statement to the media.

Arthur maintained his innocence in recent media interviews as his attorneys had pressed the state’s governor to delay his eighth execution date to DNA test hairs collected at the crime scene. Arthur’s daughter, in a news conference held an hour after her father’s execution, repeated those calls saying there should be mandatory DNA testing of all evidence in all capital cases before any execution is carried out.

Sherrie Stone said she vacillated over the years over whether she thought her father killed Wicker. “At times, I was convinced he did. At times, I believed he was…

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