Supreme Court upholds death penalty for Alabama man

Matthew Reeves is expected to be executed by lethal injection, which is not his preferred method of execution.

Updated: January 27, 2022 - 9:28pm

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The Supreme Court upheld the death penalty for Matthew Reeves, who claimed an intellectual disability and the state of Alabama not allowing him to choose how to die should disqualify him from execution, scheduled for Thursday evening.

The petition to execute was presented to Justice Clarence Thomas, who is in charge of the cases from the lower court involved. Justice Amy Coney Barrett would not have allowed the state's request to let the execution go forward. Justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer dissented.

Reeves, now 43, was convicted of killing Willie Johnson, who gave him and other people a ride in 1996, according to Advance Local.

Johnson was robbed of $360 and killed by a shotgun. Witnesses say that shortly after Johnson's death, Reeves, who was 18 at the time, "danced and mimicked his death with his blood still on his hands," Advance Local reports. A witness also said Reeves bragged about a "teardrop" tattoo, signifying that he killed a man.

"[T]he Court today disregards the well-supported findings
made below, consigning Reeves to a method of execution he would not have chosen if properly informed of the alternatives," Kagan wrote.

The execution, originally scheduled for 6:00 p.m., is expected to proceed tonight. Reeves will be executed by lethal injection, not by his preferred method of nitrogen hypoxia.