- Associated Press - Friday, March 11, 2016

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - After carrying out its first lethal injection in more than two years, the state of Alabama has requested execution dates for three more death row inmates

The attorney general’s office asked the Alabama Supreme Court to set execution dates for Robert Melson, Vernon Madison and Robert Bert Smith.

Melson was convicted in the 1994 shooting death of three Gadsden fast food workers. Madison was convicted of killing a Mobile police officer in 1985. Smith was convicted of the 1995 murder of a Huntsville convenience store clerk.

The state said all three men have exhausted their appeals for crimes committed decades ago. Lawyers for the men indicated in court filings they will oppose the setting of execution dates.

Lawyers for the attorney general’s office wrote in the court filing that trial evidence showed Madison sneaked up and shot Mobile police Officer Julius Schulte in the back of the head as he sat in his police car after responding to a domestic dispute involving Madison.

Madison’s lawyer wrote in a court filing that he has been mentally incapacitated by strokes and ongoing mental illness marked by paranoid delusions.

A lawyer for Melson and Smith wrote that there are ongoing questions about the constitutionality of Alabama’s death penalty sentencing process, particularly in Smith’s case, in which a judge overrode a jury’s 7-5 recommendation of life without parole.

The state prison system did not carry out any executions for more than two years because of a shortage of execution drugs and ongoing litigation over the death penalty. Death row inmate Christopher Brooks was executed in January after the state switched to a new drug combination. It was the state’s first execution since 2013.

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