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Alabama high court holds off on Arthur execution

The Alabama Supreme Court has denied the state’s request for a new execution date for convicted murderer Thomas Arthur because his bid for DNA evidence hasn’t been decided by a Jefferson County judge.

The Supreme Court, in a 6-2 ruling Tuesday, rejected Attorney General Troy King’s request for a new execution date for Arthur, 66, who has come within a day of execution three times in a 1982 murder-for-hire case.

The court, in a 5-4 decision Tuesday, also denied the state’s request for a rehearing of its July decision to stay Arthur’s execution.

The attorney general filed for a new execution date after the high court blocked Arthur’s July 31 execution on a 5-4 vote.

Jefferson County Circuit Judge Teresa Pulliam hasn’t ruled on whether to hold a hearing on a request by Arthur’s attorney to test crime scene DNA and to consider another inmate’s signed confession that he, not Arthur, killed Troy Wicker of Muscle Shoals in 1982.

In July, Arthur’s attorneys produced a confession to the Wicker murder from state inmate Bobby Gilbert, who is serving life without parole for another murder and other offenses.

Two of Arthur’s convictions in the Wicker murder were reversed on appeal, but his third conviction has been upheld.

Wicker’s wife, Judy Wicker, testified she paid Arthur $10,000 to kill her husband in an insurance scheme. She served 10 years before her early release from a life sentence. She has disputed Gilbert’s claim of being the killer.