Alabama Executes Man for 1991 Sword Murder of Pastor

May 31, 2019 Updated: May 31, 2019

The state of Alabama executed a man for killing a pastor with a sword in 1991 on May 30 during a robbery attempt.

Christopher Lee Price, 46, was put to death via lethal injection in Holman prison, where he was pronounced dead at 7:31 p.m., CBS News reported.

Price was convicted in the slaying of pastor Bill Lynn. He used a sword and a knife in the attack, which occurred just days before Christmas.

“A man is much more than his worst mistake,” Price said in a statement before his death.

Gov. Kay Ivey said that Price had to be punished for his brutal crime.

“Finally, the loved ones of Pastor Lynn can feel at ease knowing that justice has been administered. I pray that, after all these years later, his family can feel a sense of peace and comfort,” she said, CBS reported.

Lynn’s family also issued a comment about the matter, which was read aloud by an official before Price’s execution. “We are praying to finally have peace,” it read, Fox News reported.

Price was nearly executed in April before the execution warrant expired. Later, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 on May 30 to allow his execution to go ahead.

The prisoner asked to die via nitrogen hypoxia, which kills by depleting the body of oxygen, Fox reported.

CBS reported that within minutes of the lethal injection, “color soon began draining from his face as additional drugs flowed through an intravenous line.” He was pronounced dead soon after that.

The Alabama Attorney General’s office issued a lengthy statement about the execution.

“Tonight, the family of Pastor Bill Lynn, who was brutally murdered nearly 30 years ago, has finally seen Lynn’s killer face justice,” said Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall in a statement to the Montgomery Advertiser.

Marshall continued: “Christopher Price was put to death at Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, fighting until the very end to avoid facing the consequences of his heinous crime.”

The official described Price‘s crime and its impact.

“On December 22, 1991, Bill Lynn was wrapping Christmas gifts for his grandchildren when the electricity in his home suddenly went out. Stepping outside to check the power box, Lynn was ambushed, slashed, and stabbed with a sword and knife dozens of times. His killer, Christopher Price, dodged his death sentence for the better part of three decades by employing much the same strategy he has pursued today and tonight: desperately clinging to legal maneuverings to avoid facing his just punishment. In the end, justice got the last word. Tonight, Pastor Lynn’s family can finally begin to seek peace and closure,” the office wrote.

Death Penalty Abolished in New Hampshire

This week, New Hampshire, which hasn’t executed anyone in 80 years and has only one inmate on death row, became the latest state to abolish the death penalty when the state Senate voted to override the governor’s veto.

The Senate vote came a week after the 400-member House voted by the narrowest possible margin to override Republican Gov. Chris Sununu’s veto of a bill to repeal capital punishment.

Rob Spencer, center, of Concord, N.H. pauses in prayer
Rob Spencer, center, of Concord, N.H. pauses in prayer as legislators debate prior to a death penalty vote at the State House in Concord, N.H., on May 30, 2019. (Charles Krupa/AP Photo)

With New Hampshire’s action, 29 states allow capital punishment, but in four of them, governors have issued moratoriums on the death penalty, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. Twenty-one states have abolished or overturned it.

New Hampshire’s death penalty applies in only seven scenarios: the killing of an on-duty law enforcement officer or judge, murder for hire, murder during a rape, certain drug offenses, or home invasion and murder by someone already serving a life sentence without parole.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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