Alabama bidding to set execution date for convicted killer

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama moved Wednesday to set yet another execution date for a convicted killer who has been on death row for more than 30 years and has eluded seven previous attempts to put him to death.

State lawyers filed a motion to set an execution date for inmate Tommy Arthur, one day after the U.S. Supreme Court turned down his latest appeal.

"Arthur has successfully manipulated the state and federal courts with meritless litigation to avoid his execution date seven times," Assistant Attorney General J. Clayton Crenshaw wrote in court papers. He requested the date be expedited "so that there may be justice in this matter once and for all."

The state is seeking to put Arthur to death with an injection for his 1983 murder conviction. He was found guilty of the killing of Troy Wicker as the man slept inside his Muscle Shoals home.

Investigators said Arthur was having an affair with Wicker's wife and that she paid him $10,000 to kill her husband. Arthur was on a prison work-release program for the slaying of his sister-in-law at the time of Wicker's murder.

Arthur maintains his innocence and has argued that a lethal injection would cause him undue agony. His lawyer, Suhana Han, was not immediately available for comment.

On Tuesday, the nation's highest court ruled that his latest appeal did not merit their review. That decision came after a last-minute ruling in November that blocked Arthur's execution as he sat in a holding cell outside the state's lethal injection chamber.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall praised the federal court's decision to not hear Arthur's appeal.

"The long wait for justice may be near an end for convicted killed Thomas Arthur," he wrote in a statement Tuesday. "For more than 30 years he has fought to delay his execution for the 1982 cold-blooded murder of Troy Wicker."

Alabama's 15-page motion detailed each of Arthur's seven attempts to outlive his "long-overdue" death sentence and requested an execution date be set as soon as possible.