Tommy Arthur, also known as the “Houdini of Death Row" was finally put to death by lethal injection on Friday, May 26. The 75-year-old inmate from Alabama gained the title for escaping previously-declared seven execution dates. Convicted on the charges of a murder-for-hire shooting in 1982, Arthur was pronounced dead at 12:15 a.m. CDT Friday at a southwest Alabama prison.

Arthur was first sentenced to death 34 years ago after he was convicted of killing Troy Wicker, a river boat engineer. Wicker was reportedly shot in the head while he was asleep in his home in the north Alabama city of Muscle Shoals.

Arthur and his crimes

In 1982, Arthur, after starting an affair with Troy Wicker's wife, Judy. He then plotted and killed the husband Troy by shooting him in his right eye. Initially, Wicker’s wife maintained that she was raped by a black man when she came home.

However, after she was convicted by the police, Mrs. Wicker changed her story and testified that she along with the accused did plan to kill her husband. In exchange of killing her husband, Judy gave Arthur $10,000. During the execution, Wicker’s two sons were present; however they did not make a statement to the media.

“Houdini of death row” executed in Alabama

During his last final hours Arthur tried to cry but got all choked-up and apologized to all four of his children.

He apologized by saying that he failed in the duties of a father. In a bid to save Arthur for the eighth time from clutches of death, his lawyers in a hurry filed last minutes appeals to halt the execution.

However, they were unsuccessful in their attempt as the United States Supreme Court gave way for the execution to take place shortly before 11 p.m.

on May 25 night. The lethal injection under the administration of the state prison system was given to Arthur sometime around 11:50 p.m as the death warrant had validity till midnight. Arthur succumbed to death shortly after midnight.

Executions evaded by Arthur

Arthur was given seven execution dates all between 2001 and 2016, all of which he escaped.

In a last attempt, his attorneys appealed to the Supreme Court to halt the execution with the argument that the opening sedative called midazolam, that is being used in Alabama’s execution protocol did not anesthetize the individual properly before the lethal drug was injected into them.

Referring to a previous case, his lawyers said that inmate Ronald Bert Smith was awake during his execution and had coughed for at least 13 minutes before his death. However, the state stood its ground and rejected the appeal by stating that there was no evidence of Smith experiencing any pain.