The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday allowed the execution of a 45-year-old convicted killer to go ahead in Alabama after it was twice halted. Ronald Bert Smith Jr., who was convicted of killing a convenience-store clerk, had pushed for a delay, saying the death penalty should not be imposed since a jury recommended life imprisonment. The argument resulted in two court-ordered delays before the U.S. Supreme Court finally ruled it could go ahead late Thursday. A jury convicted Smith in 1995 and recommended life imprisonment, but a judge overruled that and sentenced him to death. The execution was Alabama’s second this year. Smith was confirmed dead at 11:05 p.m. local time, after reportedly coughing and heaving 13 minutes into the execution procedure.
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