By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
The execution of death row inmate Christopher Lee Price, convicted in 1993 of the 1991 murder of a Fayette County preacher, was finally carried out at 8:12 p.m. last Thursday, May 30, at Holman Correctional Facility.
The execution went ahead after the U.S. Supreme Court, hearing Price’s appeal for the second time, narrowly rejected (by a 5-4 margin) a request for a stay filed by the 46-year-old inmate’s legal representatives.
The high court’s ruling came several hours after Price’s death warrant expired as he awaited execution on April 11. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and associate justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito, Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh voted to vacate the stay and let the execution proceed.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall issued a statement in the wake of the execution, expressing satisfaction that justice had finally prevailed.
“Tonight, the family of Pastor Bill Lynn, who was brutally murdered nearly 30 years ago, has finally seen Lynn’s killer face justice,” the state’s top prosecutor said. “Christopher Price was put to death … fighting until the very end to avoid facing the consequences of his heinous crime.”
Marshall, an Atmore native, provided details of the grisly murder, which came as the minister and owner of an auto parts store, and his wife, who was injured but lived to testify against Price, were preparing to celebrate Christmas.
“On December 22, 1991, Bill Lynn was wrapping Christmas gifts for his grandchildren when the electricity in his home suddenly went out,” Marshall pointed out. “Stepping outside to check the power box, Lynn was ambushed, slashed, and stabbed with a sword and knife dozens of times.”
Price’s attorneys argued up until the death warrant was carried out that the state’s lethal injection protocol would cause their client “excruciating” pain. The convicted killer had first asked that he be executed by electrocution, then later asked that the state use nitrogen hypoxia as an alternative form of execution, one that would have been available to him in 2018.
Two lower courts agreed to put the execution on hold, but a majority of the nation’s highest court said Price waited too long to make his claim.
As Price’s time of death drew near, his attorneys released a statement of apology on behalf of the condemned killer to the family of his victim.
“I am so terribly sorry to the victim and his family for my crime,” the statement read. “Neither he nor his family deserved what I did. Nobody deserves that.”
Price’s execution marked the second in two weeks at Holman. Michael Brandon Samra, who was convicted of cutting the throat of a 7-year-old girl during a 1997 quadruple homicide in Shelby County, was put to death on May 16.
The Attorney General made note of the continued 11th-hour attempts to legally put a stop to Price’s execution and said the convict’s death allowed the victim’s family a chance to move on with their collective life.
“(Lynn’s) killer, Christopher Price, dodged his death sentence for the better part of three decades by employing much the same strategy he has pursued today and tonight: desperately clinging to legal maneuverings to avoid facing his just punishment,” Marshall said shortly after Price was pronounced dead at 8:31 p.m. “Tonight, Pastor Lynn’s family can finally begin to seek peace and closure. In the end, justice got the last word.”