A Muslim child killer has sued a prison for violating his rights by making a Christian chaplain stand beside him when he is executed next month. Dominique Ray, 42, filed a lawsuit against the Alabama Department of Corrections for refusing to let an imam take the pastor’s place as he receives a lethal injection. Ray, who raped 15 year-old Tiffany Harville before cutting her throat in 1995, says prison officials also nixed his request not to have the Christian chaplain present during his execution.
His attorney’s said the enforced presence of the chaplain ‘can serve only one interest — an unconstitutional one — safeguarding the soul or spiritual health of the condemned inmate in the Christian belief system.’ Department of Corrections spokesman Bob Horton countered by saying Ray would receive the same treatment as other non-Christian inmates, and have his spiritual advisor witness the execution through the window of an adjoining room.
In an email seen by NBC News, he added: ‘The Alabama Department of Corrections follows a protocol that only allows approved correctional officials, that includes the prison’s chaplain, to be inside the chamber where executions are lawfully carried out. ‘The presence of the prison’s chaplain in the chamber follows department protocol regardless of the chaplain’s spiritual belief or that of the inmate.’ Ray is set to be executed on February 7. His attorneys unsuccessfully sought a new trial after accusing prosecutors of failing to tell jurors that one of their key witnesses was suffering from schizophrenia when he testified.
Harville vanished from her gome in Selma, Alabama, in July 1995 after being picked up by Ray and pal Marcus Owden for a night on the town. Both men raped her, before Ray cut her throat. The pair then stole the child’s purse, which contained $6 or $7. Harville’s body was discovered a month after she disappeared, with Ray offering to help the youngster’s mother search for her after she vanished. Owden admitted murder and was sentenced to life without parole after agreeing to testify against his friend.