Convicted murderer Matthew Reeves executed after Supreme Court steps in

Roughly one week ago, an Alabama-based federal judge halted the scheduled state execution of convicted murderer Matthew Reeves, who was charged with the murder of a man called Willie Johnson in 1996 after giving Reeves, and others, a ride in Selma.

However, according to AL.com, that decision was upheld a few days later by the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. The Alabama Attorney General’s Office, representing the state’s case against Reeves, appealed the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, which resulted in a 5–4 decision in favor of clearing the way for his execution.

Justice Elena Kagan, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and Justice Stephen Breyer, all dissented in the ruling. Justice Amy Coney Barrett noted that she was in favor of denying the state’s appeal.

Kagan was especially unhappy with the decision, writing in her dissent, “Four judges on two courts have decided—after extensive record development, briefing, and argument—that Matthew Reeves’s execution should not proceed as scheduled tonight. The law demands that we give their conclusions deference…”

She added, “But the Court today disregards the well-supported findings made below, consigning Reeves to a method of execution he would not have chosen if properly,” citing Reeve’s diminished cognitive capacity.

Reeves opted out of several finalities offered to those scheduled for execution, including a spiritual adviser, a last meal, and final words to those in attendance for the execution. Reeves simply looked up at one point when the IV was inserted, then laid his head down and closed his eyes.

Minutes later, he was officially pronounced dead.

Reeve’s execution was the second one in the United States in 2022, with the first execution happening earlier in the day in Oklahoma.