Alabama executes inmate who wanted imam present

The U.S. Supreme Court building stands in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019.
Al Drago | Bloomberg | Getty Images
The U.S. Supreme Court building stands in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019.

A Muslim inmate who complained in a legal challenge that Alabama wouldn't let his Islamic spiritual adviser be present in the execution chamber has been put to death after the nation's highest court cleared the way.

Authorities say 42-year-old Dominique Ray was pronounced dead Thursday night of a lethal injection at the state prison in Atmore.

Ray's attorneys had challenged Alabama's execution procedure, saying it favors Christian inmates because a Christian chaplain employed by the prison typically is in the chamber during an execution. Ray requested an imam instead but that was denied. The state said it refuses to let a non-prison employee into the execution room, but agreed not to have the chaplain present.

Ray's spiritual adviser watched from an adjoining witness room.

The U.S. Supreme Court overruled a lower court decision Wednesday staying the execution plans.

Ray was convicted of the 1995 murder of 15-year-old Tiffany Harville.