LAS VEGAS —Scott Dozier, the convicted murderer who had all but begged Nevada authorities to execute him for years, was found dead in his death row cell over the weekend, authorities said.
The 48-year-old was discovered hanging by a bed sheet tied to an air vent, Nevada Department of Corrections spokeswoman Brooke Santina said Monday. Santina said he was pronounced dead at 4:35 p.m. Saturday.
Santina said Dozier, who was not on suicide watch at the time of his death, was discovered in his cell and that authorities attempted life-saving measures.
Authorities from White Pine County and Nevada's inspector general are investigating, Santina said.
Dozier avoided execution for years, despite his desire to die at the hands of the state. He came closest in July when corrections officials in Ely were set to use a controversial mix of drugs to kill him. But hours before the scheduled execution, a Nevada judge granted an injunction sought by the maker of a sedative that had been at the center of botched executions in other states.
But while drugmakers argued in district courts, state courts and even the Nevada Supreme Court that the drugs they made shouldn't be used to execute Dozier, the inmate continued to try and pave a path to being killed.
"Life in prison isn't a life," Dozier told the Las Vegas Review-Journal prior to the scheduled July execution. "This isn't living, man. It's just surviving."
Dozier was convicted in 2007 of murdering and dismembering Jeremiah Miller, 22, at a Las Vegas motel. He also was convicted in Arizona in the 2001 murder of 26-year-old Jasen Green.
His quest to die drew national attention and was yet another high-profile case that called into question the use of pharmaceutical drugs to conduct executions. Nevada was attempting to use a three-drug cocktail that included midazolam, cisatracurium and fentanyl.
Lawyers for Dozier argued that cisatracurium —a paralytic drug —would mask the pain and suffering he'd likely experience during the execution. Drug manufacturer Alvogen, which makes midazolam, claimed in court that the Nevada Department of Corrections obtained the drug through a third party without disclosing it was to be used for executions.
"While Alvogen takes no position on the death penalty itself, Alvogen's products were developed to save and improve patients' lives, and their use in executions is fundamentally contrary to this purpose," Alvogen lawyers wrote in court briefs.
But Dozier's lawyers were always hamstrung by their client's wish to die. The inmate had periodically been on suicide watch over the last year and never recanted his wishes to die.
David Anthony, a federal public defender who represented Dozier, said in an email Monday he was sad to hear of the suicide.
"We offer our sincere condolences to Scott's family and hope that he has found peace," Anthony wrote.
Nevada hasn't executed anyone since 2006 and Dozier's would've been the first in the state's new death chamber, which was completed in 2016 at a cost of about $860,000.
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