- The Washington Times - Monday, July 21, 2008

RICHMOND| A Virginia inmate who unsuccessfully challenged the state’s method of executing prisoners by lethal injection is scheduled to die Thursday for beating a co-worker to death with a brass lamp and stealing his money to buy crack cocaine.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this month rejected Christopher Scott Emmett’s argument that Virginia’s use of lethal injection amounts to cruel and unusual punishment because of the possibility that paralyzing and heart-stopping drugs could be administered before a drug that renders them unconscious takes effect.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in April that the three-drug cocktail used in Kentucky and most other states was constitutional despite a similar claim.

In 10 of the 70 lethal injections performed in Virginia before this year, a second dose of drugs was given because the inmate did not die within a few minutes after a heart-stopping drug was administered, according to court papers.

Although most inmates are pronounced dead within five minutes after the first drug is administered, the last two inmates executed in Virginia took approximately 10 minutes and 15 minutes to die, respectively. Department of Corrections officials will not confirm whether a second dose of drugs was given to those men.

“We certainly do think that there’s been substantial variability in the times it has taken prisoners to die, and we think those warrant further investigation by the courts,” said Matthew S. Hellman, one of Emmett’s attorneys.

Gov. Tim Kaine, a Democrat, stopped Emmett’s execution a year ago so the U.S. Supreme Court would have time to consider his appeal, which it later rejected. Then in October, Emmett’s execution was one of dozens halted by the Supreme Court while it considered the Kentucky lethal injection challenge.

Emmett’s attorneys have not asked the U.S. Supreme Court again to block the execution but have petitioned Mr. Kaine for clemency.

In 2001, Emmett beat John Fenton Langley, 43, to death with the base of a brass lamp in a motel room they shared while in Danville working as part of an out-of town roofing crew.

Gene Langley, 48, of Rocky Mount, N.C., said too much consideration has been given to whether his brother’s killer will suffer.

“He did not have any respect for my brother when my brother suffered,” he said. “It was proven in court that my brother suffered pain, so what’s the difference between him and my brother?”

“No person should do that to anybody and be able to go out of this world and not feel something of what they did to their victim,” Gene Langley said.

On the night of the murder, John Langley bought food and grilled for Emmett and other co-workers, then they played cards at their motel. As Mr. Langley slept, Emmett took the light bulb out of the lamp so he wouldn’t cut himself and beat Mr. Langley to death so he could steal his wallet.

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