A twice-convicted killer who wants to die rather than spend his life in prison was about an hour from eating his final meal on Wednesday when he found out a Nevada judge had indefinitely delayed his execution after a pharmaceutical company objected to the use of one of its drugs to put someone to death.
Instead of carrying out what would have been the first execution in Nevada since 2006 and the first in the US using an untried combination of three drugs, state officials must now reassess their options.
Scott Raymond Dozier, 47, was put on suicide watch as a precaution while officials planned a psychological evaluation at the state prison in the remote north-eastern city of Ely before he returns to death row.
Dozier was also placed on suicide watch after his execution was postponed in November.
Dozier was with family members and two close friends when he found out the execution had been postponed, said his attorney Thomas Ericsson.
He wasn't shocked because he knew the drug company's last-minute lawsuit could derail things, and there was no outburst or anger, Ericsson said. They didn't immediately talk about their next steps, he said.
"I would say he and his family had prepared themselves," Ericsson said.
Dozier has attempted suicide in the past and has said repeatedly that he prefers execution to life behind bars.
"Life in prison isn't a life," the Army veteran and former methamphetamine user and dealer told the Las Vegas Review-Journal recently.
Dozier was sentenced to death in 2007 for robbing, killing and dismembering 22-year-old Jeremiah Miller at a Las Vegas motel in 2002. Miller had come to Nevada to buy ingredients to make meth. His decapitated torso was found in a suitcase.
In 2005, Dozier was sentenced to 22 years in prison for shooting to death another drug-trade associate, whose body was found in 2002 in a shallow grave outside Phoenix.
A witness testified Dozier used a sledgehammer to break the victim's limbs so the corpse would fit in a plastic storage container.
It could now be several months before his execution is scheduled again.